You recently honed your Twitter marketing skills, and now it’s time to expand on your knowledge using hashtags. The hashtag is the cornerstone of any Twitter marketing strategy—and social media marketing as a whole.
What is the hashtag, and where did it come from? How do you create the best hashtag for your Twitter marketing campaign? Here’s a brief history of the Twitter hashtag, as well as some best practices when using hashtags in your social media marketing.
A hashtag is a keyword or phrase preceded by the # symbol. It’s a unique creature, since it exists without spaces or punctuation marks. The hashtag is used to categorize topics and identify specific messages on Twitter and many other social media platforms. Hashtags are pivotal to Twitter marketing, allowing businesses to increase brand awareness and gather new followers.
The hashtag was first used on Twitter by social media guru, Chris Messina. Messina initially suggested using the # to identify group gathering online in August 2007. The hashtag would officially take off in October 2007 when journalists used the hashtag, #SanDiegoFire, while covering a series of forest fires in San Diego. Today, hashtags can be used to cover a variety of topics from music and film to politics.
In 2017, hashtags have become the staple of Twitter marketing. They are important since they keep the audience informed and allow businesses to receive feedback from their customers in real time.
As you may have guessed, creating a good hashtag is easier said than done. Twitter provides a useful infographic to help users get started choosing a hashtag on their website. The following elements are what comprise the best trending hashtags.
Less is more. It’s cliche, but it is especially true when marketing on Twitter. It’s imperative to remember the 140 character limit on Twitter. This limit can hinder your message, so keeping content to a minimum is crucial. A successful Tweet can be comprised of a combination of captions, links, pictures, gifs, video, and hashtags.
Don’t overuse hashtags. Tweets with too many hashtags can often be messy. Instead, opt for a descriptive caption to elaborate on your message or attach a picture or gif to provide a visual cue.
It’s important to use the utmost clarity when using a hashtag. Since a hashtag can be phrases or a group of keywords attached without the use of spaces, Twitter users can easily misinterpret your message.
A clear focus helps narrow down the topic you’re Tweeting about. For example, when discussing marketing tips online instead of simply using #marketingtips, we use #TwitterTips or #SocialMediaTips to emphasize a specific topic.
There are countless, infamous tales of individuals and companies whose hashtags were misinterpreted and taken out of context. Infamy may not be bad if your company does not have a brand image and wants to be known as a controversial brand.
One example that comes to mind is when Susan Boyle’s PR team used the hashtag #susanalbumparty to promote her album release party in 2012. Unknowingly, they basically invited Twitter users to a “suspicious bum party.” Proofread and check for double entendres when using hashtags. The last thing your brand image needs is to be associated with inappropriate or vulgar content.
The purpose of your hashtag is to raise brand awareness, so it’s important to use a unique hashtag to represent the individuality of your brand. A unique hashtag will help your Twitter marketing efforts since it’s easy to remember. The more unique it is, the easier it will be for your audience to identify it with your brand. A unique hashtag is key to creating brand differentiation on Twitter.
On the flip side, using a hashtag that is too vague or too common will not help your brand stand out. The point of being unique is not to be lost in a sea of commonality. You don’t want to be like everybody else, especially your competitors. Your Twitter marketing will have been in vain if you fail to draw attention to your company.
For example, here at Post Launch, we use #ThisIsPostLaunch when sharing content about our team, brand, and services. This helps our audience understand who we are, as well as identify us through a hashtag that is unique to our company.
Hashtags are a great way to promote company or industry events. To create an event hashtag, start with the name of the event. Want to make it an annual thing? Add the year at the end of the hashtag. You can finally shorten the hashtag by abbreviating the name of the event as an acronym. For example, shorten #NewYearsEve2017 to #NYE17.
It’s never too early to use your event hashtag. Prior to the event, generate buzz and build anticipation by Tweeting about the event using the hashtag.
Make sure participants are involved in the event by encouraging live Tweeting. Through live Tweeting, attendees will share their experience in real time. Live Tweeting by attendees is important for the following reasons:
After the event, keep the conversation going! This is a great opportunity to survey the opinions and reactions of the event. Finally, post throwback pictures to the event days or weeks after the event takes place to remind attendees and educate new followers about the fun.
Knowing how to create a good trending hashtag is half the battle. Here are some general do’s and don’ts to follow when using hashtags.
Happy 10th birthday, hashtags! The history of the hashtag has come a long way. From starting a conversation with your followers to promoting an event, hashtags have revolutionized social media. Here at Post Launch, we know the importance of good trending hashtags. Contact us to see how we can help with your hashtags and all your Twitter marketing needs!