Are you thinking over ways to get maximum result from your hashtag marketing strategy? You are not alone. Every business which has taken social media marketing seriously is keen to leverage on this unique marketing tactic. Before going into hashtag marketing and its benefits, let’s be clear about the term as such.
What Is Hashtag Marketing?
Hashtags are a type of metadata tags marked by the hash character ‘#’, in front of a word or unspaced phrase. They can be placed either in the main text or at the end of a message. This hyperlinked hash character is used across the social networks and micro blogging sites including Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, VK, Flickr and Facebook to help in marketing a brand/product. They primarily help to identify messages on a specific topic.
How Do Hashtags Help in Marketing?
Many amateur marketers wonder as to how does this cute pound sign (#) in front of a word or unspaced phrase in a tweet or a post help in marketing a brand/product. The fact is that when used strategically, hashtags have immense potential to function as an excellent marketing tool that boosts brand awareness and connects online audiences.
Strategically used hashtags help marketing in the following ways:
- Users can easily locate messages with a specific theme or content that they are interested in. When they search for or place a hashtag in their post, it will present them with all the tagged topics
- Inspire users to talk more about your brand, and hence boost brand image
- Helps in targeting your market
- Improves your SEO
- Helps in tracking opinions and views in the social community about your brand
An analysis shows that almost all of the world’s top 100 brands that are active in Twitter have embraced hashtags in their posts. Tweets with hashtags showed 12% more engagement than those without hashtags.
Another interesting fact is that American Dialect Society declared Hashtag as the Word of the Year in 2012.
Hashtag Marketing Schemes Worth Considering
Let us move on to different hashtag marketing strategies that deserve attention of all smart marketers.
1. Generate your own branded hashtag
Crafting your own branded hashtag is one of the most effective hashtag marketing schemes to promote your brand. The branded hashtag should be unique to your company. It should be in the form of a slogan, a tagline or a phrase that sheds light directly on the product or service you deliver. It should be concise, catchy, simple and easy to remember. This is a distinctive way of gaining brand awareness, if you can successfully pursue your followers to use it in their posts/tweets.
You should not limit the use of your hashtags in any one of the social networking sites. Make the presence of your brand hashtag felt across all the platforms including your website, email signature, brick and mortar (B&M) store (if you have one) etc. You can take more leverage by running promotional contests by giving away prizes to those who use your branded hashtags in their daily posts.
Example: KitKat, the company behind the chocolate-covered crispy wafer bar confection, is a fine example for successfully aligning hashtag with their brand. They use their popular and well-accepted tagline #HaveABreak in their hashtag marketing plan on all their social sites. The company successfully engages their social KitKat community by constantly using it on all the platforms. They are fruitfully controlling the kind of content fans submit using their brand hashtag.
Coca Cola’s #ShareACoke and Nike’s #justdoit are some other brand hashtag marketing success stories that we have all come across.
2. Make the right use of trending hashtags
You can successfully engage your audience by using a trending hashtag that is related to your business or suits your brand’s character. Trending hashtags are nothing but the most popular hashtags at a particular moment.
Though trending hashtags change frequently, you can spread your content to a wide audience (beyond your fans, followers and contacts), by tactically using them in your posts. Engage with the trending hashtag in a witty and creative way to generate more re-tweets, shares and clicks. Cling on to a specific hashtag as long as it is trending.
Example: Oreo, the famous sandwiched cookie maker, is a specialist in taking advantage of the trending hashtags to their own benefit. Their trending hashtags #SuperBowl #blackout, #FashionWeek etc. are prime examples that caught the trend on social network sites. The success secret is their quickness in embracing trending topics and turning them into hashtags, and using a trending hashtags to spread their content. They could do it as they were smart in picking up the trends relevant to their business.
Remember that using trending hashtags that are not linked to your brand will earn you disgrace rather than fame.
3. Formulate campaign hashtags
As a brand or business, you will be running promotional/sales campaign from time to time. Creating a hashtag for each of your campaign is a great way to promote your business. Lure people into using them in their posts, and make them active participants in spreading the word. Your campaign hashtag should be short and sweet and should convey the name of your marketing campaign tag. You can make it mandatory for followers to use the tagged phrase in their posts as a condition to enter into the campaign. It will keep your customers engaged throughout the period of the special offer.
Example: Oreo’s #DunkInTheDark campaign and #SnackHacks campaign were very popular campaign hashtags.
4. Content hashtags
Content hashtags can be fruitfully used for better content reach. They reflect the content of the post that you want to optimize for search. In other words, they are mainly used to achieve SEO for your posts. These general hashtags may contain frequently searched keywords such as location, lifestyle, events or product. This will enable you to drive more traffic to your website. By using a popular tag, you can broaden the reach of your content.
The truth is that no marketer can overlook the use of social media marketing and hashtag marketing. But wise and careful use of hashtags is required rather than inserting them casually in all the tweets and posts.
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