Hashtags are a great thing to capitalise on when you’re using Twitter. They’re a great way to connect with people who are talking about and interested in the same topic. If it weren’t for the hashtag, you may have never been able to find these people.
If you’re running a business, it’s a good idea to consider creating your own branded hashtag. It can encourage people to communicate with your brand by using the hashtag on their posts and images. It also makes it easy for you to monitor what is being said online about your brand, and respond to comments. You can also use a branded hashtag to promote products, contests or any sponsored events. The branded hashtag will help to increase the exposure of these events.
There are some steps you should follow if you’re considering starting your own branded hashtag.
5 steps to creating a branded hashtag:
Consider your goals
What do you want to achieve by creating a branded hashtag? Create a social media ROI strategy, and include these goals. Having a goal to achieve will help you to know whether or not your branded hashtag is a success or making any difference to your marketing efforts.
Don’t just decide on the one hashtag. Brainstorm and come up with several ideas for the hashtag. You’ll need a longer list depending on whether you’re going to use a hashtag just for your business, or for specific events.
When brainstorming ideas, try to be as creative as possible. No one is going to want to use a dull, boring hashtag. Make sure your hashtags are:
- Short: with character limits on social media, you don’t want to have a long hashtag
- Easy to spell: something that is difficult to spell will mean people won’t remember it or use it.
- Consistent: is it in line with your brand? Will it resonate with your target market?
- Unique: make sure to do your research and ensure the hashtag isn’t already in use. Use the search function on Twitter to see if your hashtag has already been used.
- Call to action: consider your hashtag to be a type of call to action. Consider a word or phrase that asks a question, or will incite engagement.
Once you have come up with a list of hashtags, it’s time to do some research. You don’t want to settle on a hashtag that another brand is already using. You also want to avoid any embarrassing social media fails. To avoid any problems, make sure you:
- Check spelling: hashtags have no spaces in them, so it’s important to check your phrase doesn’t create a new word. Anyone remember #susanalbumparty? Three words that are normally fine, but together resulted in a hashtag fail.
- Check every platform: maybe something is trending on Instagram and not Twitter. Make sure you check everywhere for your hashtag before you decide on it.
- Newsworthy: before launching your new hashtag, make sure you check any current events that could impact your hashtag. You don’t want to be promoting a hashtag right in the middle of a major disaster, as you’ll come across as looking extremely insensitive. Make sure you get the timing of the release of your hashtag right.
People aren’t going to just start using your hashtag overnight. You need to let your followers know it exists! This doesn’t just have to be a simple tweet telling people to use the hashtag. Show off your creativity to spread the message of your new hashtag. Taking a photograph and share it on the relevant social media pages would be an interesting way to engage followers. You could also consider mentioning it in an email, or even having promotions about it in store. Whatever you can think of, do it! You need to make sure people will know about the hashtag. Make sure you use it in your own social media posts – if you’re not using it, why would you followers?
Once you’ve launched your hashtag, it’s important to track and monitor its progress. Otherwise, your hashtag may not be making much of an impact, and you’ll have no way to know. Use data tools such as Google Analytics or Social Sprout to track your hashtag. Tracking the hashtag will also give you the chance to communicate with those using the hashtag. Your followers will definitely appreciate getting a reply or retweet if they use your hashtag.
Make sure you frequently use your hashtag on your preferred social media platforms. Just remember to avoid overdoing it – you don’t want to come across as looking desperate and really pushing the hashtag. Naturally use the hashtag in your posts, and you’ll find your followers will soon follow suit.