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7 Ways to Successfully Market with Hashtags


Hashtags – you either #love them or #hate them – but they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Originally created as a simple way to organize Tweets together into some kind of theme, this simple, solitary character, can supercharge your marketing efforts when used correctly.

Here’s how:

Hijack a Hashtag … At Your Own Risk

 

This strategy can either win you friends or cause your brand to go down in flames – depending on the hashtag you use and how you intend to use it.

Case in point – if a well-known band is showcasing their music with a hashtag, and your own band has a similar style, it’s acceptable to “hashtag-surf” and use that tag to draw attention to your own efforts.

After all, no one owns a particular hashtag.

But this strategy can backfire, as in the case of highly-publicized Twitter fails #McDStories and #notguilty (to name a few).  You can keep an eye on which hashtags are popular for specific events, topics and even people by using a site called Twubs.

There’s also a basic hashtag encyclopedia if you want to see what’s trending or which hashtags are already in heavy use by well-known brands.

Develop a Sense of Community

Whether it’s for a charity project, a common interest, band or special event, the right hashtag can bring together people from all over the world.  Not only can the creator(s) of the hashtag interact with their fans or followers, followers can also interact with each other – sharing stories, lessons learned and opinions.

Host a Live Chat or Q&A

Twitter live chats are one of the most well-known opportunities to use hashtags, as anyone who follows that particular tag will not only have a record of the ongoing chat, but will also be able to participate and ask questions using it.

Depending on how often the hashtag is used, it can also appear on the sidebar of Twitter’s trending topics, encouraging people to take a look and add their own opinion or comment.

Ideally, it’s best to generate some anticipation before a live chat by emailing your subscribers, followers and friends to let them know the time and date, then scheduling some time to answer questions and chat on Twitter.

Grow Local Business

Local search engine optimization is one of those fields that even strictly online businesses shouldn’t ignore.

To that end, you can follow specific hashtags in Twitter, such as your city name, county or state (or abbreviation) to see what people in your area are talking about.They could be sharing short restaurant reviews, talking about weekend destination plans or asking others what events are coming up.

Either way, depending on your business, you can be part of the conversation.

Reach Out Across Multiple Platforms

Different social media management programs like Tweetdeck and Hootsuite will let you synchronize your posts (and your hashtags) across different platforms.

So, if you post to Twitter with a time-limited coupon or special (a very common use of a hashtag), and you’d like your customers on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+ to join the fun, using a hashtag can bring people from all these platforms together, as hashtags are viewable and clickable across all those services.

Ride the Coattails of Popular Tags

Right now, the Black Friday anticipation is building here in the U.S., and stores are rolling out the digital red carpets with unheard-of deals before the “official” launch of the holiday season.

With this in mind, it’s perfectly acceptable to ride the successful coattails of popular shopping, holiday and event hashtags like #blackfriday.

You can also use multiple hashtags in your post – such as #blackfridaydeals and #blackfridaycoupons to encourage shoppers following those alternatives to take a look at your offer.

Share Hacks, Case Studies or Customer Spotlights

A hashtag is also the perfect way to highlight great ideas, suggestions and even people.  Whether they’re undertaking a massive project using your product or service, or have enjoyed tremendous success as a result of it, these are the kinds of stories you want to share with others.

People on Twitter and Facebook enjoy the attention that their feedback brings, so showcasing their hard work or well-won efforts is a great way to say “I’m listening”!

Just remember that when choosing a hashtag, that your choice is limited to a single word or words without spaces. #wordpresstips would work, but #wordpress tips would not.

Also, as with any good marketing tool, be sure not to overuse hashtags in areas where it #doesn’t #make #sense.

Your Thoughts?

Have you found a creative use for hashtags?  How have they enhanced (or hindered) your social marketing efforts? How do you plan on implementing creative hashtags into your future marketing? Share your thoughts and ideas below in the comments!


About Sherice Jacob

Sherice Jacob helps website owners improve sales and increase profits through compelling copywriting and conversion optimization. Follow her on Twitter @sherice, Google+ or LinkedIn to get more marketing insights.
View all posts by Sherice Jacob ➞

Comments:

  • Kathy Hadley says:

    These are all very good tips. I think the most obvious tip that a lot of people miss is that they just don’t use hashtags across ALL of their social media accounts. It is similar to your company branding. Pick a hashtag for your posts and always use it everywhere.

    This was a great article.

    As with everything you post on DM, very helpful.

    Thanks,

    Kathy

  • i clicked on facebook and it came up that no page so i guess it is broken

    • Ryan Deiss says:

      Yeah, we’re having issues with our FB pages. Hope to get it fixed this week. Literally, the folks at FB that were working on it were on Spring Break last week. :)

  • Hashtags are becoming a way of pushing tweets into a certain category. I always use hashtags whenever I advertise or just tweet someone. It’s not always effective, but it works out quite a bit.

  • Phil says:

    Couldn’t using popular hashtags get people confusing your brand with others?

    • It depends on what the hashtag is — if it’s a well known brand then I doubt there would be much confusion. If it were a broader term like #sports, #movies or #cooking, it’s fair game.

  • John Page says:

    Great stuff!

  • Lydia Brown says:

    Thank you for the clarity. I use hashtags sparingly even on Twitter. I have seen on Facebook people actually load up one post with several hashtags. I had at one point wondered how relevant that would be if others were not interested in the tag you just made up. You confirmed for me that it would not help your branding at all. I think keyword research is the key to using the hashtag that would move your content in front of the right folk. Thanks again.

    • You’re exactly right! In most cases, broad hashtags work better than specific ones – unless you’re doing an event, in which case it’s imperative that everyone who’s attending tweet/share under that hashtag to promote exposure.

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