(Hash)tag! You’re it.
Quite possibly, the hashtag symbol serves as a cultural icon defining the digital generation. Virtually everyone has seen one or one thousand, but not everyone knows its origin, objective, and reach. And while the hashtag came to life at a time of a national disaster, to convey updates and messages, it’s now taken on a life of its own and has applications to the business world.
Spawned just over a decade ago on Twitter, the hashtag symbol organized content that gave readers easy access to information. Later, “#bostonstrong” became a viral inspiration to commemorate the victims of the 2013 Boston Marathon attack, and the idea spiraled from there. Seeing the vast impact and ability to drive traffic with such a minimalist effort, digital divas have turned the hashtag into a multi-faceted approach to promoting ideas, products, and events.
How does this fit into your business model? Easy. #itworks. Italian automaker Audi waged a hashtag campaign in 2011 following a tweet directed at them from a fan. They created a social media marketing campaign, “#WantAnR8,” and offered a loaner Audi car to the original tweeter. Five more fans were also given keys, and by the end of the campaign, Audi had run a wildly successful promotional gig.
Even the smallest ecommerce merchant can co-op the now legendary symbol and use hashtags to stir conversation. Start with a great primer on how to use them properly. Then graduate to put them to good use pitching your brand, merchandise, and identity.
Remember that the hashtag phenomenon unfolds on Twitter, ultimately, so you will need to have an account set up and running. Twitter is a fast-paced, longstanding, and growing consumer and business social media platform that shows no signs of aging out.
The next step requires some quiet time and an honest focus on strategy. Research, research, research the best hashtag(s) to reflect your brand’s association. Find out what your competition is doing to hijack the hashtag. And determine who your target audience is, as well as what will capture their attention.
Humor is a fabulous conversation-starter and subject for a hashtag campaign, as long as it doesn’t trivialize your brand or merchandise. It can attract positive attention that will convert to loyalists and, ultimately, great sales numbers.
Once you’ve come up with some basic information, check Twitter Analytics to assess the likelihood of success. Then establish focused, verifiable goals that will keep you on track. Monitor the campaign to see how it’s performing, and consider changing up the hashtag text if you think it might improve progress. You are in the driver’s seat.
If you’re super focused on results, check out RiteTag for some awesome ideas and specifics. And for some examples of epic hashtag campaigns, try this site for some good old-fashioned inspiration. You’ll probably see some hashtags and expressions you know – and love.
While trending social media platforms can feel intimidating at times, it’s imperative to understand that they are potential tools in your workshop geared toward commercial success. With a combination of focus, creativity, and commitment, you can jump aboard the digital train and find new horizons for building a business.
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