Depending on who you ask, Twitter is ranked fourth or fifth amongst marketing channels.
Most marketers therefore focus on using email marketing, blogging, and Facebook for their campaigns. While the success rate of lead generation on Twitter may lag behind other channels; it still presents an excellent opportunity for creating awareness and nurturing engagement.
The success of any campaign boils down to how it is implemented. On Twitter, the character limit can make it hard to fully explain yourself, but that’s where one important Twitter ‘tool’ comes into play. Nobody’s asking you to buy the latest and greatest automated-social-media-thingamajig.
I’m talking about the simple hashtatg.
Initially used as a way to group similar conversations, the hashtag has grown to embody everything about Twitter. From being used to incite political uprisings to company and event boycotts, the hashtag has redefined how we communicate.
Because a hashtag is used to group similar tweets on a keyword or topic, it makes the accompanying Tweet easier to find in the sea of messages sent every second. This means that with the right hashtags, businesses can:
- attract new customers to your topic and the accompanying post on it,
- help build their brand,
- extend the reach of a social media marketing campaign.
They have even been proven to have SEO value as Google recognises and indexes them.
Now, you may wonder how you are supposed to use hashtags inside the already limited character space. For this reason alone, many marketers abandon the hashtag altogether, but it doesn’t have to be one or the other. By understanding the do’s and don’ts of using hashtags, your campaigns can use them AND be effective.
- ALWAYS use a hashtag. It helps get your point across and people can have an idea of what you are saying at a glance. Tweets with hashtags are reported to get up to 200% more engagement; readers know what they are clicking on and since they are interested, they stay on longer.
- Stop the hashtags after two. You really don’t need more than two in any Tweet to get your point across. Apart from encroaching your already limited space, more than two hashtags tend to come across as spam.
- Use popular industry hashtags to build/attract your ideal audience. Be careful to avoid clichés or use hashtags that are too broad. With regular posting, you’ll develop an engaged following and can eventually create your own branded hashtag that your followers can recognise.
- Hashtags across platforms, so don’t hesitate to use them. On Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, include hashtags that will let people easily find your content. But not on LinkedIn as hashtags are not supported here and using them that will make you look like a spammer.
- With all your tagging, remember to track the reach of your hashtags. Tweet-tag, Tweetreach, Tagboard, and Talkwalker all start with free plans for your hashtag monitoring.
- Capturing the attention of a prospect is one thing; becoming the go-to brand in their eyes is another kettle of fish. As your brand grows and becomes popular, you can start to create more brand-centric tags for even more engagement and reach. At a point, your business will have enough followers that your brand hashtag becomes instantly recognisable.
Other uses for hashtags in SME marketing include:
- You can create unique campaign hashtags to advertise any special events or promotions you are running. Campaign hastags can be taken off social media and used on other platforms; part of the power of a hashtag means it’s instantly recognisable anywhere.
- Hashtags also work well for promoting posts. By using keywords closely related to your content or product, they can help improve the SEO value of your posts. Depending on intent, some keyword research may be required to choose the right tags.
At this point, you may be tempted to eschew research and use trending hashtags, but that can go wrong quickly. Too many companies have jumped on a trend, without understanding its wider connotation. This has made them come across as socially irresponsible and simply crass.
It’s best to err on the side of caution and create your own unique hashtags, than ride the coattails of what is trending.
Social media can be a minefield to navigate, with many different rules and formats, but one element cuts across them all, the hashtag. How you use your tags can determine your reach and level of engagement. It can be a lot of fun coming up with them, and the increased business is a welcome bonus.
At Search and More, we create and optimise social campaigns for clients across many industries, and the hashtag is one of our secret weapons. Ready to tweak and optimise your marketing campaigns? Contact us today!