If Twitter is a burning rage of fire for digital marketing, then Hashtag is like fuel. Hashtags have changed the way we use social media since its official inception in July 2009. It started with the principal aim of linking every tweet with a keyword, but has grown into a big marketing strategy for business owners. Many campaigns and brands have had a changed fortune with a useful hashtag strategy.
What is Hashtag?
Hashtag is the categorization of tweets with a targeted keyword which is followed by #. It is used to spread information to a wider audience. Digital marketers use it for three major reasons- Finding, Attracting and Maintaining.
Finding – Twitter is one of the biggest social networking sites having users with varied types of interests. Through Hashtags, potential customers can be found. They help in reaching a wider range of audience and increase the rate of engagement. Users having interests on the same or related hashtag keywords can be found easily.
Attracting – Alluring a user towards a tweet is a hard thing to pull off. Engagement means the number of click rates, favorites and shares or retweets on a post. A study has found that tweets having hashtags and media files attached with it have 12% more engagement rate. Thus, they can be used to transform potential customers into new customers.
Maintaining – Retaining the already existing customers of a business is essential. Hashtags offers a way of communication with your users and increases the connectivity with them. It makes it easier to respond to their complaints and queries. This goes a long way in securing a customer loyalty.
How and When Hashtag can go Wrong
Though Hashtags can help in elevating the business or brand; it needs proper usage otherwise it can go severely wrong. Digiorno, a pizza company, is a perfect example of this. They hijacked trending hashtag #WhyIStayed and carelessly used it to promote their brand. Unfortunately, that was domestic violence and abuse based hashtag. They received severe backlash on the social media due to lack of research.
Mainly there are two kinds of mistakes which you must avoid while using #.
• Incorrect usage of the hashtag
• Hijacking a trending hashtag
Digital Marketing Strategy for Using Hashtags
• Bio with hashtags
Twitter bio is the first thing that your audience will see on your Twitter profile. Make sure it is filled with hashtags attached to the keywords of your profile bio. When users search on Twitter, they write down a specific keyword. For example, if your company is in the trading business, then input a #trading somewhere in the bio. This way when a user searches for the same keyword your profile will pop up on the suggestion list.
Important Tips – Don’t over use them in your bio. Overdoing anything results in failure and in this case too many hashtags can make your profile look spam and desperate for attention. So, avoid using more than three keyword centric Hashtags.
• Tweets with Hashtags
The 140 character micro-blogging site allows user to spread and categorize tweets with the use of Hashtags. Use them efficiently whenever required. It should be relevant to the content you are publishing. Proper research should be put into each hashtags before using.
Important Tips – Analyze the keywords which will make your audience search and find your post. Twitter tools are an amazing way to gain an upper hand on this.
• Branding Hashtags
Instead of hijacking popular and trending hashtags, businesses should create a custom hashtag for themselves. Provide offers and run campaigns with your brands hashtags and engage specifically with your audience. This enhances the reputation and increases the trust of your business among your audience. Twitter tools like Hashtag.org can be used to find already existing and unused Hashtags.
Important Tips – If your company or brand name is already trade marked, then you can directly make it as your own Hashtag.
• Communication with Hashtags
Social Media bridges the gap between businesses and their customers. Communication thus becomes essential for any brand. Even big and reputed companies engage with their audience to increase personalized communication. One successful example is the Coca Cola hashtag campaign #ShareACoke.
Important Tips – Create a separate hashtag for your audiences to ask you questions regarding your companies.
• Monitoring with Hashtags
One effective strategy of digital marketing experts on using Twitter is monitoring your brand’s hashtag. They make it lot easier to find real-time feedback of your products and services. What your audience speaks behind your back, makes your brand successful. Hashtags are kind of like cheat sheets to find out what they are talking about your brand. Plus, finding engagement rates also becomes easier.
Important Tips – Use tools like Tweet Reach, to find out when your hashtags are receiving more engagement and discussions. Publish content on that timeframe.
• Promote Your Hashtags
Most businesses use paid advertising to promote their hashtags to a huge audience. This kind of investment can spread the campaigns, the products or your brand name. Most users look into the Trending Tweets, and such a promotion will put your hashtag on top of other trends. The visibility and discussions of your tweets will in turn skyrocket.
Important Tips – Promote your hashtags to a targeted audience. Certain demographics of your customers should be analyzed for better performance of your paid promotions.
Effective Tools for Hashtags
Twitter tools make social media marketing a lot easier for business owners. The wide range of apps and websites providing different Twitter services can make tweeting just so simple.
• Hashtagify. Me – Find all the related and relevant keywords to widen your reach. For example, #socialmedia and #socialnetworking are the same thing. Find out which hashtag has engagement rates and use it in your tweets.
• Hashtags.org – This website is like an online directory of Hashtags. Find the latest, popular and trendy hashtags from here. They can also help to find the hashtags which are already in use.
• TweetReach- The effectiveness of your brand’s hashtag and all the analytics can be found here. Who shared, replied, liked and most importantly who saw the posts are all the information which one can gather from here.
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