Social media may be teeming with hashtags now but its power cannot be underestimated. Its usefulness can be seen by how information is spread and how it aids online searches. It is for this reason that if you are marketing using social media, you should consider employing hashtags in your marketing strategy. The hashtag is not entirely fail-proof.
There are infamous cases on how hashtags can backfire, like what happened with the New York Police Department’s campaign to improve their image with #myNYPD. Instead of highlighting the NYPD in a positive light, Twitter users however used the tag to share incidences (and pictures) of police roughing up citizens.
However that’s nothing to worry about so long as you follow basic hashtag etiquette, and do enough research. Adhering to hashtag tips like keeping it short and testing them also helps to minimize the risk of your hashtag campaign failing. By using them strategically, you’ll be able to make hashtags work for you and your brand.
Recommended Reading: Hashtagging in Social Networking – A Guide to Using Them Right
Why use hashtags for marketing
Hashtags are great for marketing purposes, for instance to inform others of your latest products, events and campaigns. It also helps you gain reach for your brand, increasing exposure and helping people easily find you and your brand. With hashtags, it is also easier to communicate with your audience and the networks within the same industry.
On top of that, you get to monitor who is talking about you by keeping track of your hashtags and even check in on your competitors. Best of all, the data you can gather are real-time and of great value in terms of market research. You can also cross over multiple social media platforms with the same hashtag, and best of all, you can find plenty of tools to help you hashtag more effectively and productively.
Here are some of the hashtag tools you should consider using in your marketing campaign.
Not sure where to start out first? Search Hashtags.org for its extensive list of hashtags that are popular or currently trending. You’ll be able to find out what and which hashtags are already in existence as well as the analytics on when a particular hashtag is being tweeted most within 24 hours. Additionally if you need to know more about how to use hashtags, you can read some of their articles, available on the site.
Hashtags can branch out, and hashtagify.me will show you all the relevant and related hashtags to a particular keyword, in a mind-map like manner. When you hover over a related hashtag, you’ll be able to see how popular it is and how it relates to the main hashtag. You can even switch to "Advance Mode" to discover more associations or "Table Mode" if you prefer to view information in a more structured form.
Need to know when a hashtag was first used? Twitter’s API would not be able to let you do that but Topsy’s API will. All you need to do is tweak the search settings and Topsy will do the rest for you. It further compiles tweets with photos, links and videos containing the hashtag you’re searching for as well as the analytics you desire. Topsy also tells you who are the influencers of a particular hashtag.
Similar tool: Keyhole.co
Not sure what to hashtag? RiteTag tells you which hashtag is more likely to be seen and used by others. When you compose a tweet with hastags, it will highlight them in either red, blue or green to indicate how high a chance your tweet has of being discovered. RiteTag will also recommend alternative hashtags that are more likely to be noticed.
Similar tool: Sopularity.com
How do you know if your hashtag is effective? By using TweetReach, you’ll be able to know if your hashtag is impactful during your campaign or event. It tells you if your hashtag is generating discussions, retweets, and most importantly, who saw your tweets. Simply enter the hashtag in the search. You can also use TweetReach to see who is talking about your brand.
Want to keep track of the hashtag for your campaign or event? Hashtracking will be able to do that in real time. Some of the things it will keep track of are tweets, retweets, and who is contributing to the conversation. It will also provide graphs and charts as well as in-depth analysis which you can export and share.
Can’t keep up with the many hashtags you are tracking? TweetBinder allows you to create "binders" for a particular hashtag or hashtags. A report will be generated to show the statistics of conversations, tweets, pictures, links and contributors surrounding that hashtag. Extremely useful for keeping track of your various campaigns and events, the data gathered can be used for future marketing references. You can even browse things by binders too.
Similar tool: BundlePost
See your hashtag trending and want to engage with others directly? Twitter’s @mentions or reply button may be the first thing you’ll go to but things tend to get messy when having a discussion with more than one person. TweetChat solves that and you can even pause the stream if the replies are coming in too fast. An additional tip is to create a hashtag just for chatting.
Most of the tools featured here are mainly for Twitter. TagBoard on the other hand, lets you track hashtags from five social media platforms; Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram and Vine. If you are marketing on various platforms, this will come in handy for seeing how your hashtag is doing. You can even create your own tagboard if the hashtag is still available.
Other tool: SocialMention.com
You are now ready to unleash your hashtag into the World Wide Web. There is just one snag: how do you post your content and hashtag across multiple social media sites at once? That is HootSuite’s strength. You can also pre-scedule posts as well as track your hashtag activity. If your competitors employ the same strategy of marketing on various sites, this is one of the better ways to keep track of them.