Hashtags are fundamental to how Twitter works. They enable keyword and topic categorization and allow users to easily follow topics of interest to them. They also enable tweets to be displayed easily on Twitter search.
We have seen over the last few years the power of hashtags for activism across the world. The humble hashtag has also become one of the most valuable assets in any modern marketing campaign. Brands that haven’t invested the time or thought carefully about their hashtags – and how they are going to be used – will see far less impressive campaign results than those who do.
Brands will often create a hashtag from their brand name or create a memorable hashtag for a campaign they are running. The best hashtags are ones that combine both the brand and the campaign as these are truly memorable and associate the brand with the activity
What makes Twitter different from other social platforms is its fast-paced, real-time nature. Users access it on the go, making it ideal for tapping into events and developing stories.
Marketers use hashtags for a variety of reasons.
Drive marketing objectives
Hashtags can help drive marketing objectives in the following way:
Stand out from the competition
If you position yourself with hashtags that are not currently being used by your competitors, this will help differentiate your brand and earn more attention from the users that are using that hashtag and less attention on your competitors.
You can use hashtags to follow events. Use existing event hashtags to track and join the conversations around events that you support or that your brand plays a role in.
Create your own hashtag for your brand event to get users started on a conversation about what’s happening during your event and encourage real time commentary and impressions.
Engage with trending topics
Hashtags can also help you engage with trending topics. Interacting with trending hashtags allows your brand to be top-of-mind and generate engagement outside of your brand-focused tweets, taking part in a broader conversation that’s important to the majority.
Promote thought leadership
You can use hashtags to add value and thought leadership to an existing conversation. Only join a conversation if the hashtag is relevant to your brand, and if you know for sure that you can add valuable insights. If you just tweet for the sake of tweeting, users will pick up on this and view this action negatively.
Increase discovery and visibility
Hashtags make it easier for people to discover your brand. If they are following a hashtag, they will see any of your tweets that include that hashtag. This increases your reach and visibility.
You must choose your hashtags carefully when creating your tweets. A well-chosen hashtag will help you to stay current on the most relevant conversations and avoid competition friction.
Here are seven top tips for optimizing your hashtags.
1. Do your research
Research what's trending. Choose what will resonate with your audience. However, be sure to add something to the trend. You don’t want to be seen as simply jumping on a bandwagon.
If people are already using a hashtag and having conversations, part of your work is already done. All you need to do at this stage is to ensure that when you join conversations using this hashtag, you are adding value.
Don’t use hashtags inappropriately, such as those related to tragic news events. Monitor your community’s hashtags before using a new hashtag. This will help you ensure relevance and avoid controversy
2. Use them for a reason
Ask yourself why you’re using a hashtag. Remember, good hashtags should be memorable so that your customers will easily recall them. SEO keywords make great hashtags because they are often short, memorable, and will increase discoverability.
Make sure to give people a reason to use your hashtag, such as for a competition or trend.
How do you want followers to interact with hashtags? Be sure you tell people how to use the hashtag.
3. Keep them simple
Keep your hashtags short and simple. Avoid complex or overly clever hashtags. Ensure your hashtags are easy to remember and spell.
4. Integrate them with other content
One way to make sure a hashtag is memorable is through media integration. The best hashtags are tightly integrated with other marketing activities, from TV advertising to press adverts and direct mail material. To make sure they are consistent across all your digital channels, use a social media style guide.
5. Use branded hashtags
Create a branded hashtag for your company and monitor your community’s hashtags before implementing them to ensure relevance and avoid controversy. Be sure to capitalize the hashtag in the appropriate places to improve brand recognition and readability, and keep them short – brevity aids memorability and leaves more space for other commentary and links.
6. Format them correctly
It’s important to avoid using spaces or punctuation in a hashtag as it will make it separate the keyword and make it unsearchable.
Capitalize the hashtag in the appropriate places to improve brand recognition and readability. For example, #WarmMonday is easier to read than #warmmonday.
7. Use sparingly
The fewer hashtags in a post, the better. Having lots of hashtags can seem overly commercial or disruptive to the flow of your normal text. Also, multiple hashtags take up space and can make your post seem spammy and less authentic.
Generally, have no more than two hashtags in a tweet.
When used correctly, hashtags can at the very least make it easier for users to find and share your content. At the most, they can support your brand, and expand your influence and followers. Check out this list of 8 handy tools for researching the right hashtags for you.
Dig deeper into the marketing power of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms by enrolling in a social media and marketing course today.