If you are a social media junkie you have likely seen hashtags used in posts made by your friends. Perhaps your buddy checked in at the movies and upon leaving remarked the film was a waste of time and added “#bombed” or “#fail”. But what does a hashtag do for content, and how can it be used in a marketing strategy?
Twitter Had its Legs in the Stirrups
Twitter gave birth to the hashtag, and this offspring remains as powerful fuel for social media platforms driven by trending topics that almost always start with a hashtag. Hashtags universally unite a single thought, emotion or idea by making the marked term searchable for social engagement. When you add a hashtag to your post you significantly increase the amount of traffic that will view it, and using two hashtags on a single post will double that exposure. However, when it comes to effectively using hashtags on Twitter you had better not exceed two of them, otherwise your social engagement will likely drop by 17 percent. Really, it’s a number’s game: the goal is to get as many re-tweets as possible to expand your visibility, and the cleverer you can get at using hashtags to broaden your audience, the greater the number of re-tweets you will receive. Also, when your tweets are favored and re-tweeted, you are incubating your Twitter credibility and reputation. All in all the hashtag can usher in a plethora of benefits if you learn how to make it your best friend.
Campaign and Brand Hashtags
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Campaign and brand hashtags are created to market your own products and services. They will represent your company and drop it smack into the middle of its respected industry. When choosing a hashtag to represent your brand it should be unique and crafted in a way that promotes engagement, recognition and excitement. This will be your signature tag, and your goal will be to get others to use it across the face of social media. It is recommended that you use a slogan or a tagline about your brand that people recognize, or will come to know in due time. An alternative would be to use your company’s name. Before you settle on a brand hashtag research it on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to make sure it is not over-used or common.
When making campaign hashtags these will signify promotions or special events you are running. For example, if you own a business that sells DJ equipment and you are running a promotion that calls for participants to enter an in-store contest spending 3 minutes spinning their own music for a chance to win some gear, you can use “#SpinAndWin” as a campaign hashtag. This is an ideal choice as it is catchy, easy to remember, and it describes the event at hand. One trick you can do to make your campaign more visible is to choose a hashtag that is a common phrase people are using, and give it your own twist to promote your campaign. For example, to promote a lunch special Domino’s Pizza in the UK used “#LetsDoLunch” which proved to be one of the most successful fast food social media promotions of all time. This campaign received a lot of exposure because it used a common phrase that people throw out there day to day, and it simultaneously and accurately represented the promotion’s subject matter.
You may have overheard someone ask, “What’s trending online right now”, and not have a clue as to what they were talking about. When something is trending it means it is a hashtag topic that has become extremely popular across multiple social media platforms and is making quite a buzz. Trending hashtags create a massive audience for you to promote your products and services to. Most companies are blogging these days, and if you hope to successfully market your content through a trending hashtag, you must really stretch to get those creative juices pulsing. In order to drive traffic to your site via a trending hashtag while keeping the bounce rate low, you have to create good quality content that is 50 percent about your products or services, and 50 percent about the topic signified by your trending hashtag. A perfect example of this can be seen through the blogging efforts of a nationally known water damage restoration company: when it comes to blogging with a trending hashtag they created content that equally covered World Cup Football as a primary subject while also featuring their services through the guise of “how to avoid water damage at a World Cup Party” all while using “#FIFA2014” and “#WorldCup2014” to promote their content and services.
The last thing you want to do is spam up Twitter and Facebook with your blogs, promotions and branding attempts without having any relevance backing up your efforts. If you simply hashtag your blog using a trending subject for the sake of it you will likely get ignored, blocked and reported. Let the essence of your brand and the popular trends on social media come together in a creative amalgamation of marketing magic and use the right hashtag to light up your stage so your audience can see your brand and products shine!