Now that search engines are getting smarter and smarter and brand reputation is becoming the major method to secure your reliable search and social presence, we are forced to come up with up-to-date ways to promote our business name online. Online marketing is getting more and more creative. Our industry is evolving and growing up!
Hashtag marketing is one of the leading new methods of driving a brand today, with Twitter becoming more popular than ever in the world of social media business.
It all comes down to using the method properly. There is very clearly right way and a wrong way to drive brand focus using hashtags. There are some easy ways to get started.
Keyword Hashtag Research
Tracking niche hashtags will let you:
- Find our about related events;
- Get to know active niche Twitter users, journalists and social media influencers
- Find effective ways to use hashtags to get Twitter visibility
Here are some effective ways to discover and analyze hashtags:
Discover and Research *Related* Hashtags
If you have come across a hashtag and want to research it, here are a few tools for you to do that. Discovering niche-specific hashtags is a much more difficult task.
Here are few absolutely awesome tools to discover relevant hashtags to the most obvious one:
Hashtagify works similarly to the old Google’s Wonder Wheel: for any given hashtag it will create an inter-connected cloud of related ones:
TrendsMap lets you identify locally trending hashtags:
Twitter Search is another possible tool. Just keep searching going from hashtag search to hashtag search. Consider changing default trends to your location to see popular hashtags that are being tweeted nearby (especially useful for local business)
Summarize and Organize Hashtag Context
(Or “Curate!” which is a new buzz word)
There are quite a few tools that will help you analyze and collect important social media context around your important hashtags. Here are the three I am using:
|Best for||Summarizing Twitter search results (especially around your official hashtag)||Creating “Tablet”-friendly magazines (you can easily download any magazine to read it on the go.||Aggregating lots of sources into one RSS feed (each “Scoop” has an RSS feed which makes things so much more flexible (in terms of re-using and promoting)+ Easily sharing your web mentions across a number of social media profiles (Facebook pages are also supported).|
|Users can subscribe to your magazine||Yes||No, but they can follow the author||Yes|
|Analytics||You can see how many times each issue was views||No||Simple “Views report (more options available on the upgrade)|
|“Embed” option to easily share||Yes||Yes||No (but you can embed using RSS feed)|
|Example||#MyBlogGuest Twitter chat||“The International Society for Technology in Education” (#ISTE)||MyBlogGuest ScoopIt|
Find Hashtag Influencers
Like I said, hashtags can be useful tools for discovering useful contacts who can help you get your message spread. Here are a few tools to analyze who tweets a particular hashtag:
- The Archivist lets you download the list of all Twitter users who mention a particular hashtag as an Excel file. It can also break the data into a cool pie chart.
- This very smart and geeky Google Spreadsheet will both monitor and archive Twitter search results for a particular hashtag and also give you lots of insight into who uses it as well as how these users are connected:
General Advice on Creating and Promoting Hashtags:
- Always come up with something unique. This is more than just a tip, it is a necessity. Hashtag hijacking is a big no-no on Twitter. A company that steals a hashtag is not only looking lazy, but will actively enrage people who might have otherwise responded well to a campaign. One good example of that is Kenneth Cole, who last year hijacked the hashtag #Cairo for his new Spring fashion line. Along with an offensive quip about how the rioting (which caused a great deal of death and suffering) was directly related to the clothing launch. It was tasteless, and there was a huge backlash. Don’t steal hashtags… make your own. Be sure to check hashtag discovery tools above as well as Urban Dictionary to research a word you are going to use as a hashtag.
- Be direct with your keywords. When you use a bland, generic or ambiguous keyword for your hashtags, you are asking for trouble. You want something that will be immediately associated with your brand and no one else’s. One company that didn’t get the memo was network SyFy. They had been promoting their show Alphas, and so what do you think they used for a hashtag; #IfIWereAnAlpha. The only problem was that ‘Alpha’ has a certain association, one that was more suited to rival show Teen Wolf. A program on a competing station, MTV. Oops.
- Be consistent. Once you have a hashtag, it should be used consistently for as long as is relevant. For example, when you have a conference or event you can use that same hashtag for any post that is related to that event. Or, you can use the same hashtag for any multitude of contests. The longer a hashtag is in circulation, the more familiar it will become to Twitter users. Which means it will work for you more effectively.
- Be aware of possible risk. We have all seen examples of businesses doing it wrong when they adopt hashtag marketing to promote their company. Who could forget #McDStories and the hilarious results as people all over the world started writing in their negative experiences with McDonald’s restaurants. Sometimes you are just asking for trouble.
Some Ideas for You to Launch Your Own Hashtag
- Run a contest! One of the more popular methods of getting your customers involved into promoting your brand hashtag is through holding a contest. All submissions should contain the hashtag you have created, to both group them together and get the attention of others on their follow list. Just asking for stories, information and comments can also help.
- Create a Twitter chat. One creative way to use hashtags is to create a Twitter chat. This is a set time and day (usually recurring) where you and others gather on Twitter and communicate together. The results are updated live, so it works in a way similar to a chatroom. You can direct users to go to Twitter chat or other hashtag followers to take part.
Here are some examples:
Do you have any tips for hashtag marketing? Do you think it is a method of brand establishment that will continue to thrive? Let us know in the comments.
Ann Smarty is co-founder of Viral Content Buzz that can help you with your content marketing.
Image source: Smart Photo Stock