The hashtag provides companies with a fantastic avenue to breach the void between online and offline marketing. However a basic understanding of what a hashtag is, and how to utilise them effectively is required.
In Twitter’s opinion, a hashtag is used to mark specific keywords or topics in a tweet format. Humble as ever Twitter state that they did not invent the hashtag, it was an organic creation of their users. Here is a four step guide to hashtag invention and utilisation for your account.
- Before embarking on a Twitter hashtag based campaign, you need to ensure that the Twitter hashtag you intend to use has not already been taken. By using an existing Twitter hashtag, your own campaign would be either confused with, or in competition with, an existing campaign or topic. To check whether the hashtag has already been taken is simple, just go to: http://www.hashtag.org/.
- You need to ensure that your Twitter hashtag is short, easy and relative to what you are aiming to promote. Simplicity is the key here, as you do not want to have to explain what the hashtag means to everyone or its relevance to your campaign.
- Now you need to provide a slight background and explanation for your hashtag, providing its context within your campaign. You should aim to explain the hashtag both online and offline. Start with a tweet based explanation of what the hashtag means and stands for; provide a link to a further, more detailed explanation either on your blog or home site. It may also be worth using it in context with offline promotions, hashtags are increasingly being used with TV advertising.
- Finally you will want to make limited use of your hashtag. Basically don’t overuse your Twitter hashtag. Not every tweet requires a hashtag. By overusing hashtags you dilute their strength and usefulness.
Now that you know how to create a Twitter hashtag, what to do with it? One of the more obvious uses for a hashtag is to promote an upcoming promotion, sale or event for your business. By doing this it allows you to add the hashtag to anything associated to the event, from tweets to flyers. It is also important to encourage your employees to use your Twitter hashtag in any blogs or posts they submit surrounding the event. The more people who interact with your hashtag, then the larger the social media based anticipation, which in turn will increase the profitability of the event.
Another asset of an event specific hashtag is it allows you to view the level of engagement and interaction you are receiving, through twitter search. Twilert is a fantastic tool which sends a daily email to your account, informing you about the usage of specific hashtags over a twenty four hour period. Both of these tools are free and easy to use, allowing you to gauge the success of your hashtag campaign.