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Hashtag Marketing: How to Get It Right

3/22/2012
Hashtags — #hashtags — have been used, and supported, on Twitter since 2009.
 
Prior to that, Twitter was just a 140-character way for people to express themselves.
Hashtags changed that and made Twitter a marketing power tool. Users tag their tweets, give context to their thoughts, or get a topic trending just by adding a (#) in front of a word or phrase. When you add that “#,” a link is created that anyone on Twitter can search for. Just by clicking on that link, users can see all of the tweets relating to that subject or tag. Hashtags can also be used for creating ad-hoc online discussions or temporary forums. Some companies even use them to generate buzz about a topic or product. The most popular hashtags even appear as “trending topics” on the main page of Twitter.
 
Are you ready to get trending? Not too fast! Think before you hashtag. Open ended tags have a tendency to go south quickly.
 
Check out these examples of “bashtags” from Mashable on Blackberry’s #BeBold campaign and McDonald’s #McDstories and examples of what not to do. If you proceed with caution though, hashtags have the ability to expand your reach exponentially in a positive way.
 

Hashtag Marketing

 
Keep it short and relevant. Make sure your hashtag relates to the subject at hand without using more than 10 percent of your 140 characters to explain it.
 
Check it out. Search your tag to see if it’s use and if the related content is positive or negative.
 
Be true to your brand. Don’t start using a hashtag just because it is popularity and creating buzz. Stay true to your company and your goals.
 
Create your own. If no appropriate hashtag exists to meet your needs, create your own. Relevancy and creative are key.
 
Don’t overuse the tags. If every tweet has a hashtag, you will turn people off. Also, using more than 2 hashtags in a tweet does more harm than good. The more you use, the more your tweet and tag are diluted.
 
Content is essential. Don’t just tweet hashtags! It will look like spam and your followers will tune you right out. Include good content in each tweet that you include a hashtag.
 
Give it context. Don’t use hashtags without explaining what they mean. Give them quick context so followers can use them appropriately.
 
Provide value. Make sure your tags create value for you and your followers. The most common way to use this is to help organize information.
 
Track your tags. Use a service like Twilert, MentionMap, or Hashtags.org to track your hashtags and how they are being used.
 
Promote. Just like anything else in marketing, people won’t know about it unless you promote it.
 
Events. Promote your events with the same hashtag before, during, and after the event to keep the conversation going.
 
Hashtags are quick and easy ways to catalog tweets and categorize them. They can help boost your businesses exposure by reaching people outside of your network and spreading your valuable information exponentially.
 
How are you using hashtags in your marketing efforts? What experiences have you had? #hashtagexperiences

Tags: Hashtags




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