3 ways to supercharge your Twitter hashtags

Hashtags were suggested on Twitter back in 2007 by designer Chris Messina as a neat way to group similar conversations together. It took off on the platform shortly afterwards and eventually, the rest of the social media world followed – including Facebook, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest.

Chris Messina

Most of us include simple hashtags in our own posts. For example, if you’re a local business, you could include your town hashtag. And if you sell ice creams, you might add #icecream. This means that anyone searching for those hashtags could potentially see your tweet, rather than just your followers. But hashtags can do so much more than this! Read on to find out how to take them to the next level…

Trending hashtags

Not all hashtags are created equal. The trends bar on the bottom left hand side of your twitter page shows the hashtags that are currently ‘trending’ (attracting the most tweets).

It’s worth bearing in mind that this only shows you the top 10. For a wider reach, try sproutsocial.com or trendsmap.com. Trendsmap is a great tool for highly targeted marketing as it shows the most popular hashtags by geographical location.

Tapping into one of those conversations is a great way to instantly expose your brand to a large audience. There are some rules though! Number one is to research the hashtag first. Pizza company DiGiorno jumped on the #WhyIStayed hashtag, without realising it was being used to talk about domestic violence. Although the company apologised afterwards, this would undoubtedly have damaged their brand.

whyistayed

And some more rules… Don’t hijack the tweet by randomly adding it on to an unrelated post of yours. It must be relevant, and it’s best to steer clear of controversial topics.

Take a look at the fun way Doritos used the hashtag #sharknado3 from the cult American films to tap into a specific demographic:

Dortitos

Brand hashtags

If jumping on the bandwagon isn’t your thing – invent your own. For example, KitKat use #mybreak across all their social media sites. This helps define their brand (fitting in nicely with their ‘have a break, have a kitkat’ slogan) and lets fans find and engage with them. Alternatively, you could use your company name (if it’s relatively short). Do your research first to check your hashtag is unique, and that it chimes with your brand message.

kitkat.jpg-large

Campaign hashtags

You can of course invent numerous different hashtags for specific marketing campaigns. This helps create a buzz around a campaign or competition, and lets your fans do some of your marketing for you!

For Coca Cola’s hugely popular #shareacoke campaign, the coke logo on bottles was swapped with common names and nicknames. Fans shared thousands of pictures and stories online using this hashtag, helping Coca Cola reach far more of their target market than they could have done on their own. It also paved the way for endless spin off campaigns (see below).

coke

So to sum up, the humble hashtag can help your target market find, engage and share your brand online, expanding your reach and your customer base. Used creatively, it’s a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal.

Remember, don’t overload your post with hashtags. Around two is the limit. More than this and reading the tweet becomes impossible. It also looks very ‘salesy’ – a big no no on social media.

How have you used hashtags in your marketing campaigns? Let us know!

If you’d like more advice on this, or any other aspect of social media marketing, please call us on 01323 325357.

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