What the # is a Hashtag and How Do I Use it?
Hashtags are a great way to bridge the gap between your offline and online marketing, but you have to first understand what a Hashtag is and how to use it effectively.
According to Twitter a hashtag is used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet, also according to Twitter they did not “invent” the hashtag it came about organically from Twitter users. And we can call that tid bit of knowledge your first lesson in Hashtags 101 for Twitter. Now lets get to a few others.
- First and foremost you need to check and make sure that the hashtag you
are planning on using has not already been taken. You don’t want your promotion or campaign to have to compete (or get confused) with a topic that is already out there. Checking to make sure that the hashtag has not already been taken is an easy task, you can search for it on Twitter itself of you can visit Hashtag.org to make sure your hashtag idea hasn’t already been taken.
- Second you are going to want to make sure that your hashtag is short, easy, and relative to what you are promoting. No need to get all fancy and intellectual with this. You do not want to have to explain to everyone what it means or why it is relevant to your campaign.
- Third lesson ties in with lesson number two in that you will want to explain your hashtag, give it some context in your campaign. You can explain it offline or online or double duty and do it both places. Have a tweet explaining what your hashtag means or stands for, you can explain it on your website, or Facebook page and you may also want to explain or give it context in some of your offline promotions. Think of all those TV adds that have hashtags in the corner of the screen.
- Last but not least and maybe most important you will want to make limited use of hashtags. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing in the world of hashtags. Not every one of your tweets needs to have a hashtag, in doing so you dilute the usefulness of them and many people will shy away from you because you are coming across like spam. And we all know no one likes spam.
Now I know what a hashtag is how do I use it? One of the most obvious usages of a hashtag is to use it to promote an upcoming event, promotion, or sale. In doing so you can add your hashtag to anything from a tweet about the event to the flyers that you are passing around. In other words share share share!! Make sure you encourage your employees to also use the hashtag in any tweets or even blogs they may post concerning this event. Plus adding a hashtag and having people respond and follow it adds buzz to your upcoming event making it more anticipated and in return more profitable.
Another benefit of adding a hashtag to this event you can keep track of the conversation surrounding your event by using Twitter search, Twilert, which gives you a daily email about specific hashtags in a 24 hour period or hashdictionary.org. And all of these are free! Who doesn’t like free? You can follow the conversation from before, during, and after the event. Giving you not only a good buzz but also allowing to you to see how effective the event were or was not.
Congratulations you now have graduated from Hashtag 101 and you are ready to hit the ground running. You can now look at both your offline and online marketing and see if there is a place for a hashtag in your world. If not now, maybe in near future you can see where a hashtag will benefit your company and your inbound marketing strategy. #YouRock
How do you use hashtags? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.