How To Fall In Love With Hashtags
Did #LoveIsland leave you head of over heels with Kem and Amber? Were you one of the millions who got hooked and watched the #ITV show every week? I have to say that it was hard to meet anyone who had not heard of this summer’s hit reality TV show.
We loved it at Redbows and as well as watching the show spent far too many hours (after work of course) following the stars on Twitter and Instagram.
Hashtags made it so much easier and we even managed to get a few likes and retweets when it came to the #loveisland hashtag. We also watched the #loveislandreunion last night and are now eager to find out what the latest spin-off hashtags will be but think that Mike’s #staymuggy might not catch on!
Hashtags like emojis have become a part of our everyday communication whether on social media or during every day speak. The word ‘hashtags’ has become so popular that it is not recognised in the Oxford English Dictionary and even the official Scrabble Dictionary. The other night we also noticed the Emoji film is soon to launch this summer.
So, what is a hashtag? Well firstly let start with this symbol ‘#’. Put a hash-sign before any word any word and it becomes a ‘hashtag’. In the world of internet marketing and search indexes on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest, hashtags help to index relevant content from other social media users, whether personal or organisation or business related. As well as text content, hashtags can also be used to tag photos and images.
How To Use Hashtags In Promotions
Good marketers know the trends in their industry and the generic keyword search phrases and themes that people search for. The same applies to hashtags and the more specific the search phrase or hashtag the more granular your target market segment becomes. Hashtags therefore allow you to segment your market and send out those users and clients and potential clients, targeted marketing communications including images, text, offers and promotions.
So, what’s a good example? Suppose we had a summer time offer for golfers. We may then look to use hashtags including #golf #sports# summertime #promotion #specialoffer.
Follow thought leaders in your industry, your competitors, suppliers and key organisations to build-up an understanding of their strategies and track their content and engagement.
Your Hashtag Strategy
Of course, it’s important to make sure you use the right hashtag strategy for the platform and content you are using. Twitter and Instagram differ in that on Twitter hashtags refer to the text of the content. On Instagram they refer to the content or context of the image or video.
It is also important to get the right strategy and content for your chosen social media platform. Research what’s trending and what your competitors are using and pick the right hashtags for your company and what you want to achieve.
Early Mover Advantages
If you can select a hashtag strategy that your competitors are not following and then ‘hashtag-the-hell’ out of it. By this we mean generate regular content so that you dominate the content stream for that hashtag.
This is how you get to raise your profile within your industry. Be the first to use a new hashtag and remember that you can create your own hashtags. The more creative and memorable the stronger the chance that others will pick them up. Get enough momentum running and you could go viral #goviral.
Time Your Content
How often you post to your chosen social media platform is important. This can depend on how regularly you can generate or create original comment and content. The ideal guideline is to post around three times a day and you can make these posting on a range of subjects.
Look to build up a content silo by taking notes and collecting links and articles, photos and videos that you could use in a posting. This makes sense if you also use a scheduler program to launch your social media information; a useful idea when holidays or days out of the office come up.
What’s driving social media as well is the use of smart phones. Remember to download your favourite social media applications #apps onto your phone and then collect content during your day. You’ll be surprised at how quickly this process can build-up content for you to post from your phone during the day. As you open up to the idea and practice of acting like your organisation’s very own reporter you will be surprised how easy it becomes to generate and post content.
Social Media Engagement
This term refers to whether anyone actually comments, likes or reposts (retweets) your content. Each engagement shows that your content is reaching the right audience. Comments from individuals are like gold and should be responded to positively and with a mention of that users’ social media name to help expand their network.
An important point is to block or report anyone who posts abusive or negative comments. Negative comments are always something that can put off people from using social media to promote their organisations or themselves. It does however go with the territory. If a client complains on social media by making a negative comment, the best way forward is to take the conversation off-line and then solve their particular issue and then to ask them to make a follow-up comment. This can be a very effective strategy when it comes to negative comments. For people who are abusive or pushing content that is not deemed acceptable for the market you want to build, the only way forward is to block or report them.
Social Media Metrics
A social media strategy should also have a scientific basis like all good marketing practices. It is important to plan out your social media strategy and identify what worked and what didn’t.
For your social media campaign, the simplest method may be to start a spreadsheet for each content piece, the keywords used, date released, comments and to track likes and resends and engagement.
The final metric that people tend to focus on is their number of followers. This may or may not be relevant. What counts is quality rather than quality. Remember to take your time and to build a quality audience with plenty of engagement and comments. Over time this approach will help to build a more useful social media platform.