As marketers, we know that we need to use hashtags to get involved in online conversations with our customers about our products and services. In The Art of the #Hashtag Part I, we talked about what hashtags are and offered some advice for using them properly, but how can you implement them as part of your content strategy for a more successful online marketing campaign?
Here are three kinds of hashtags you can use to enhance and improve your online marketing:
Listening Hashtags: As we’ve discussed before, hashtags were designed to help people discover content online. Brands can use them to discover current or potential customers by establishing a list of terms relevant terms to follow and engaging in the online conversations surrounding them. By actively listening to the online audience, you can get a better sense of your customers’ needs.
Example: For our work with Breathe Pennsylvania on their social media campaign, we track a number of different keywords as hashtags so we can stay involved with our audience and the conversation surrounding chronic lung disease.
Branded Hashtags: Brand-specific hashtags, typically your company or product name and/or tagline, are unique to you and can help define your business on social media. The use of branded hashtags can also help you keep an eye on exactly what people are saying about you online. As an added bonus, using branded hashtags is a great way to collect and vet authentic, user submitted content.
Example: Tide uses branded hashtags to promote their support of the NFL with the @TideNFL account – People can use the hashtag #OurColors to show support for their favorite NFL team resulting in some pretty cool user generated content for the brand.
Event Hashtags: Event hashtags, like #SharkWeek or #SuperBowl, are a great way to market to your audience in real time. While this is typically what we think of when talking about event hashtags, this type of identifier can also be used with webinars, tradeshows, in-house sales or specials. Can’t attend an industry event? Follow the event hashtag to stay up to date and track the conversation. Whether you’re using established event hashtags or creating new ones specific to your brand, it’s always important to ensure they make sense and don’t seem superfluous or confusing to your audience.
Example: #brandchat is a weekly Twitter chat for brands and marketers to share ideas and strategies with one another. Moderated by the @brandchat account, topics vary from week to week. The use of the #brandchat hashtag simplifies following along and participating.
Like them or not, hashtags are a part of consumers’ everyday lives and, because of this, they are an important element of your online marketing strategy. Just remember to use them properly – Keep hashtags simple, test them out and don’t hashtag for the sake of hashtagging.