Ah, the hashtag. Though Twitter pioneered the movement, no post on any social media site is complete without at least one or two hashtags. We see them day-in and day-out on our own accounts, but why are they important to you and marketing your business?
Think about it this way – you have the power to hashtag anyone and anything.
Consumers hashtag celebrities, brands, television shows, etc. However, B2B relations are where things get interesting. Businesses can create customized hashtags for their brand or specific campaigns – these allow for simple navigation through related posts and keeps users’ interests continuous. Brand recognition can grow exponentially by choosing unique, consistent and reliable hashtags that will flow through various social media channels. It also allows for you to target a bigger audience and be recognized by a group that you may not have previously reached. Directly correlated with that is how hashtags can truly benefit your consumer.
How do hashtags relate to your brand persona?
Last week, Bill’s blog post about buyer personas really demonstrated how thorough the research is into three questions: “Who is our ideal consumer?”, “What are their needs/concerns/issues?” and “What can we do to solve their problem?” Crafting an effective and thorough brand persona is not simple and takes quite a bit of research (and brain sweat). How does this relate to hashtags? Let me offer this quick scenario – you just spent weeks delving into the depths of your dog-food-purchasing “ultimate consumer”, only to use the hashtag “#doglover”. That does absolutely nothing to individualize your message or display your brand while focusing on the consumer you wish to reach. Thousands of people use that generic hashtag on a daily basis and it isn’t interesting. Brand personas mean something, and we cannot and should not disrespect them by assuming a generalized hashtag that will do absolutely nothing for your consumer (let alone your business). “So how,” you may ask, “do I know where to begin?”
Here are the basics to building a relevant and effective hashtag.
Always start simple. Hashtags should never be confusing or more than three words. Choose one relevant, identifiable term or a basic phrase that directly correlates with what your business is about and who you are.
Don’t over-do it. Twitter has always recommended that only two hashtags are ever used per tweet – some people follow that general guideline, but most load up the post with nothing but hashtags (which is unbelievably annoying). If you need five different hashtags to get your point across, you haven’t been picking the right one!
Do your research. You can never do too much research when it comes to choosing a signature hashtag… it should be something that speaks to you and your business and that consumers will respond to and recognize. When it comes to B2B relations, hashtags can set you apart from your competitors even when they overlap. For example, Coca-Cola and Pepsi are two very iconic brands, especially known for their consistent feud with one another. The hashtag “#CokevsPepsi” has been popular since Twitter came out – most of the time, consumers are declaring their love for a specific brand. However, Coke and Pepsi will use that hashtag to communicate with each other and create a friendly banter, taking the opportunity to show off new products or campaigns.
Where can you go to do said research for that perfect hashtag?
Talkwalker: This website allows you to enter a hashtag and track its interest across social media outlets. It will show you graphs for general buzz and social engagement, as well as the potential reach. It will also provide the general sentiment in regards to the hashtag; i.e. how many happy posts in comparison to sad posts, etc.
Free Offer: 7-Day Unlimited Search Trial ($ Memberships Available)
Hashtagify: This website uses graphs to show the different links between hashtags themselves. Tracking trends have never been easier, and it also provides you with content inspiration since it shows what other hashtags are used in correlation to the one you searched. It shows a visual aid that demonstrates the relationship between the searched hashtag and others, while providing trend analyses as well.
Free Offer: 10-Day Hashtag Lab trial ($ Memberships Available)
Ritetag: This website is like your personal hashtag trainer – it judges hashtags that YOU use based on account information and whether they’re appropriate for what you’re posting. It lists current trending hashtags, potential reach and the number of tweets/re-tweets per hour that a specific hashtag has received. It improves your personal use of hashtags to better brand awareness and new campaigns.
Service Type: Free Use
Tagboard: This website is the Pinterest of hashtags. Upon searching a hashtag, it creates a visual board of photos that were used with it. This site also has a sentiment gauge to show the emotional tone of the hashtag’s use, but it accesses every social platform. The minor downfall for this site is that if your hashtag hasn’t gained enough popularity, it won’t be able to find enough information to generate any real results.
Service Type: Free Use ($ Memberships Available)
Using these services will hone your hashtag skills and provide a far better B2B social presence. They show you the most popular hashtags and what’s already in use, as well as the general response to hashtags similar to the one you want to choose.
Hashtags have the ability to take your brand persona and make it accessible – they span all channels, giving you the opportunity to make a single term or catchphrase just as powerful as your brand promise and just as effective as your research. Never forget that the hashtags are far more powerful than you think, and they must be used wisely.
Morganne, MESH Minion
Looking for a refresher on buyer personas? Read more about what a well-developed persona can do for you.