How to Harness the Power of Hashtags
Twitter is a unique platform, in which you are only able to have a conversation with the world using 140 characters. So how do you make your tweets stand out from the rest, and be found by engaged followers? One word…#HASHTAGS.
Hashtags are one of the most powerful tools you can use to increase the visibility of your tweets. Twitter is a real time feed that changes every second, so it is crucial to create tweets that stand out not only in the feed but in searches, as well. Hashtags can help to increase the number of followers, and in turn increase traffic to your website.
So here are some basic rules for using hashtags:
- Do not use more than three hashtags in one post, more than that and you start to fall into the category of a hashtag spammer.
- If you have two words you want to use for hashtags, you should combine them to create one hashtag (example: #Summer #vacation becomes #SummerVacation)
- Only use hashtags that are relevant to your post, do not add the top trending hash tag to your tweet just to gain followers. (Example: You are tweeting about puppies, but the top trending hashtag is #worldseries, do not add World Series to your tweet.)
Creating a Campaign Around a Hashtag
So, using hashtags seem pretty simply, right? Well…yes and no. While they can be a tremendously powerful tool to increase followers and website traffic, preparation for creating a campaign around a hashtag is a requirement, in order to advert disaster. The main reason a brand would use a hashtag is to try to start a conversation with the online community and build brand awareness. Powerful but generic hashtags tend to be more successful for brands because there is less chance that it could turn into negative publicity or a hashtag hijacking. It is not recommended that the company name is included in the hashtag.
Coming up with the best hashtag for your company can sometimes be a challenge. I know I just said that a hashtag should be powerful, yet generic, but it is also essential that it is not too generic. You do not want a hashtag to be so generic that it could be hijacked and used by another company, or for the meaning to be able to be change entirely. As with all social media campaigns, it is vital to have a crisis management plan in place. It should include details on how you plan to respond if your hashtag campaign is hijacked, or if it spins off in a negative way.
When beginning a campaign around a hashtag it is important to be ready for constant monitoring of how the hashtag travels and evolves in the “Twitter World”. Setting up a buzz feed to show all mentions of your hashtag could do the monitoring.
Hashtags can be very powerful tool and should definitely be used. But, please don’t just throw them into every tweet. Hashtags should be relevant to your brand, post topic, and your campaign.