Remember the time when a hashtag refers to the pound sign on your phone?
What was once just another meaningless symbol on our keyboards has now evolved into an indispensable tool for social media analysis.
Hashtags enable social networks to index specific keywords and make it searchable by users. It aggregates everything that’s been hash-tagged in real time and then becomes a certified “trending” topic when it gains momentum online.
Creating a hashtag is as easy as putting a hash mark (or pound sign, if you will) in front of a word or phrase. However, using it to align with your overall marketing goal is not as simple. To make a dent in your business, you need to take the time to come up with a good strategy in your campaign.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when using hashtags on social media.
1. Be clear and specific
When it comes to creating your branded hashtag, try to keep it as short as possible. Keeping it short and sweet is easier for your target audience to find and remember your brand—not to mention the use on social media.
Typing in #BGCcupcakes on your mobile phone is easier than #BonifacioGlobalCityCupcakesEnthusiast, which is just too long and difficult to key in.
It’s also best to err on the side of clarity rather than ingenuity. Having an unusual hashtag might seem like a great way to stand out from the crowd, but if it’s so offbeat that an organic search is not feasible, you’re better off going for a simpler one. That way, your hashtag will be more powerful, have more impact, and, of course, reach your appropriate followers.
2. Create an unbranded hashtag
It might seem counterintuitive for a brand not to include their name in a hashtag, but it has proven to be an effective marketing strategy, especially for startups looking to gain traction online.
Take the case of Filipino shoe maker Renegade Folk, who use the #ownyourstep hashtag on Instagram. They encourage their followers and shoe owners to post their Instagram photos, which in turn inspired others to post their photos with their shoes.
They sweetened the deal in a recent campaign, where a chosen image had a chance to win one of their much-coveted sandals. The brand was able to create a steady stream of user-generated images on Instagram and a loyal group of followers who voluntarily post their images to help spread the word.
3. Don’t overdo it
A popular saying goes, the more, the merrier, but not always—especially with hashtags. Using too many actually leads to fewer interactions. It also leaves a bad impression, making it appear like spam.
Over-tagging a single post might seem like a good idea because it widens your online reach, but it doesn’t necessarily convey your message to the right audience. In fact, you’ll most likely end up with spammers or followers looking to be followed back.
Your message becomes less effective, watered down, and some may even say it makes you appear desperate. So, go with a clear and precise message instead of hedging your bets with numerous half-baked, non-targeted hashtags.
4. Use a trending topic to advertise your brand
You don’t always have to come up with an original, never-before-seen hashtag to use it effectively. You can use an existing trending topic to gain more visibility. The key here is making sure that you’re doing it in a way that makes sense.
It shouldn’t appear like you’re “forcing” your brand on a trend; take the time to make it relevant for your target users. For example, you can tag your posts onto an ongoing conference that uses your brand within the same or complementary industry. If you’re a calligraphy supplies distributor, then it makes sense to hashtag your brand onto an upcoming calligraphy workshop, but if you’re a clothes store, it might not be appropriate.
5. Use hashtags for tracking your social media performance
Hashtags are perfect for finding which keywords and terms are associated with your brand. When you know what they are, you can highlight the positive messages and take note of the negative ones, as feedback for improvement.
You can also use hashtags to start a conversation rolling with your followers and users to gain more engagement. If you have an ongoing marketing campaign, tracking your hashtags is an effective way to see your re-tweets, social reach, and the like.
When used appropriately, hashtags can be a valuable asset in any marketing campaign, and a powerful tool for gauging your level of engagement with your target audience. The most successful ones leave an indelible impression to its viewers; the best ones become so strongly associated with a brand that there’s instant recall and recognition when seen.
Apply the tips we’ve enumerated above, and you’re well on your way to coming up with an effective marketing campaign with your hashtags.
Social media isn’t merely about having an account on the different networks available. It requires a strategic formulation of content together with appropriately using the tools included in it such as sharing, retweeting, and using of hashtags to have proper customer engagement. If you’re not online savvy enough, we can guide you with everything you need to know in the digital field, from research, analytics to the development of techniques through our knowledge and offered services. Learn more!