Hashtags are one of those tools you either use often or not at all. Anyone working with business social media accounts knows the benefits of not only using hashtags to group and aggregate their posts, but also to push special promotions and campaigns on social media avenues.
The problem with business-sponsored hashtag campaigns is that sometimes, they fail. Miserably. In fact, when you do a Google search for hashtag campaigns, you’ll see that the 2nd and 4th most popular searches are for hashtag campaigns and hashtag campaign fails. Ouch!
So, how can you create a hashtag campaign for your business that actually works?
How to Start a Hashtag Campaign That Works
As long as you follow the right steps and plan your campaign from start to finish, you won’t have to worry about your hashtag campaign getting hijacked by a disgruntled group or taken as a joke. In order to plan an effective and engaging hashtag campaign that works–that is, one that gets measurable results–you must know these 3 things:
- What words you want to use in your hashtag (keywords)
- Who you’ll be promoting this hashtag to and how
- What potential issues could arise with the hashtag (existing uses of your hashtag, hijacking likelihood, connection to news or tragedy, etc.)
Choosing your keywords
Your entire hashtag campaign is based around these keywords. When you select the words you want in your hashtag, it’s important to consider a couple things:
It needs to be memorable–in a good way. Make your hashtag easy to remember and more people will remember to post using it. Simple!
It needs to be short. Your hashtag should be as short as possible while still conveying your message. No one wants to type in #giantindustryconference2016 when they’re looking to engage with the keyword; however, they’ll be much more likely to try #GIC2016.
Choosing your audience and methods
Who is this campaign targeting? Which social media channels do you reach that audience most effectively through? Keep these things in mind as you select the place and way you’ll promote your hashtag campaign. Hashtags campaigns are effective on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and more.
How will you promote your hashtag? One of the best things you can do to promote your hashtag is simply using it yourself in strategic ways. Have a designer create an image for you that highlights the hashtag and what it’s for. You can share this image across your social networks to raise awareness of the campaign.
If your hashtag is a hit, don’t worry if the conversation seems to veer away from your business–that’s completely natural, and expected when lots of people are engaging with a hashtag. Just continue posting the content you want to promote with the hashtag and your business can steer the campaign back toward the focus.
Word of warning: Do your research
As we mentioned above, no one is immune to accidentally creating a seriously embarrassing (or worse, damaging) hashtag campaign for their business. You can alleviate this problem by researching the hashtag you will use and making sure it isn’t already related to anything else, making sure your hashtag doesn’t make light of recent news or political events (unless that’s what you’re trying to do), and getting opinions on the hashtag from a few others you trust.
It’s always a good idea to have someone else review the hashtag you’re thinking about going with because sometimes, a second or third pair of eyes catch mistakes or possible issues that we wouldn’t after being immersed in the information and research.