Spend any time at all on a school campus, and eventually, you’re bound to overhear the word hashtag in conversation. What started as a way to categorize Twitter posts rapidly evolved into a way to make funny comments, to join conversations, or even to show your support for a cause online. Their supreme catchiness made it inevitable that hashtags would eventually make their way into real-world conversations, as well, especially among the younger, tech-savvy set.
It’s that same catchiness that drives businesses to take advantage of the hashtag phenomenon, as well. For marketing purposes, hashtags are pure gold – if handled carefully. The right hashtag can boost a company’s visibility and popularity exponentially in days, even hours. But careful strategizing is necessary to ensure that all goes well – who can forget McDonald’s harrowing brush with the #McDStories hashtag when social media users hijacked what was supposed to be a way to share positive stories with tales of food poisoning and awful customer service.
Because hashtags can be such effective marketing tools, but can also be dangerous if not handled properly, we’ve put together a list of seven tips for creating the perfect hashtag to market your business.
1. Make it memorable.
The whole point of a marketing hashtag is to be catchy and easily remembered, so that people will be inspired either to join in the fun and use it themselves or to search for it to see what others are saying. Choose a common word or phrase, maybe with a slight twist to make it unique. Whatever you choose, it should stick in the mind easily.
2. Avoid brand names.
It’s natural to want to get exposure for your brand by making your brand name a hashtag, but unless you’re already a household name, it’s not the best idea. Coke and Oreo could get away with this; smaller companies not so much. To achieve the broadest reach, it’s best to stick to a phrase that will attract attention and interest, rather than an obviously self-promotional hashtag.
3. Keep the focus narrow.
Of course, in pursuit of that broad reach, you also don’t want to lean too far in the other direction and make your hashtag too general. Making your hashtag specific will allow people to come up with appropriate comments to fit the topic, and give them enough insight into the topic that they’ll have a good idea of the kinds of posts they’ll see when they search for it.
4. Don’t go crazy.
Marketing hashtags should ideally be one to three words long. Much longer than that, and they just seem silly – which is fine if that’s the effect you’re going for. But if you want to be taken seriously, keep your hashtag short and sweet.
5. Be relevant.
When a hashtag can coincide with a current event, it can create marketing magic. Remember Oreo’s famous tweet during the Super Bowl blackout? Harnessing the power of trending topics that people are already searching for is an excellent way to extend your reach even further.
6. Use it everywhere.
Think of your marketing hashtag as just another marketing tool to promote. You’ll want to use it on all your social media pages, of course, but also in your blog, on your website, and even on signage in your stores or branches, to increase its popularity. The more people see it, the more people will use it.
7. Be consistent.
Unless it starts picking up negative comments, give your hashtag the time it needs to spread. Don’t give up on it after just a couple of weeks – use it consistently, and you’ll see growth. Don’t confuse people by introducing other, new hashtags at the same time, either – stick with one for a while, and then you can add others as you go. With consistent, regular use, your hashtags should work their marketing magic.
By following these 7 tips, you’ll be well on your way to creating the perfect marketing hashtag for your company. If you’ve already tried some hashtags out, we’d love to hear from you! Which ones did you have success with? Let us know in the comments section below!