Why Your Company Needs a Hashtag Strategy
38% of commercial airtime during the 2013 Super Bowl employed the use of hashtags. While these were presumably aimed at Twitter, we think that hashtags will soon cover all social media platforms and will play a crucial role in any company’s overall marketing strategy.
Major social networks that support hashtags include Twitter (~550 million users), Google+ (~500 million users), Instagram (~100 million users), Pinterest (~50 million users), and Tumblr (~80 million blogs). Flickr just added hashtags about a week ago. Vine is coming on strong (UPDATE 6/8: The sharing of Vines on Twitter has just passed Instagram sharing on Twitter). We also believe that Facebook will soon start supporting hashtags (UPDATE 6/12: Bloomberg reported today that Facebook is adopting hashtags). That’s another 1 billion users. People are spending more and more time on social networks each month. It is obviously crucial for any company to be active and engaging on all these networks because if you aren’t, your competitors will be.
What is Your Hashtag Strategy?
What does it mean to have a “hashtag strategy”? Tweets containing hashtags such as “Visit our website to learn more about #cellphones” or “Have you taken a drink of #water today?” or “We have an amazing selection of computers. Check out computers.com today. #tech #buy” are what are known as empty hashtags and do not equate to a real hashtag strategy. They don’t provide any sort of motivation. They aren’t funny. They don’t touch hearts. There’s no “Call to Action”. Let’s analyze three recent marketing campaigns that included a great hashtag strategy…
AXE – #SusanGlenn Case Study
The #SusanGlenn campaign was created to tell a new story. Over the past couple decades, AXE marketed their products by talking about the power over girls that it gives to seemingly normal or average guys. Recently, however, AXE wanted to move away from that. So they created the #SusanGlenn story to talk about the power THE girl can have over each and every guy. The video below details the strategy, techniques, and results. This is an incredible example of engaging hashtag strategy.
The #susanglenn hashtag has spread throughout all social media networks. There were tens of thousands of tweets and Facebook shares and countless pictures on Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr (and Facebook). There are currently over 6,000 results for “#susanglenn” on YouTube. And most importantly, revenue increased. That’s what this is all about anyway, right? AXE beat their revenue targets for Q4 and the entire year!
Matt Damon and StrikeWithMe.org – The #StrikeWithMe Campaign
First of all, this video is just hilarious. Matt Damon has teamed up with Water.org to help get clean water to those in need.
Now visit http://strikewithme.org/ and scroll to the bottom (then come back, please). Look at all those pictures! Look at that engagement! That Matt Damon video alone has over a million views. Other celebrities and popular YouTubers have joined in as well. All for a great cause. They have truly embraced the power of a “hashtag strategy” to help the campaign go viral. But they didn’t go viral just because they had celebrities (although that surely helped). They made it shareable. Not only do they have the actual sharing buttons on the site, but it is a message worth sharing. That’s crucial. Whether it has shock value, humor, or is something truly interesting, your campaign has to be memorable. More importantly, they kept the conversation going. I think that people often believe that these campaigns will take on a life of their own. That doesn’t usually happen. You need to keep it going with engaging content. And it might start out slow, so don’t give up. If you really believe you have something great then be willing to commit to its success.
Charmin’s #tweetfromtheseat Campaign
Toilet paper is pretty “boring”. But Charmin is doing an incredible job at making it fun.
They participate in popular trending topics on Twitter and tweet accordingly. And check out their Facebook page too. They are doing some great stuff there. Here’s a recent tweet of theirs:
— Charmin (@Charmin) March 31, 2013
— Charmin(@Charmin) March 31, 2013
Pretty funny. That tweet got 47 retweets and 19 favorites. The same picture on Facebook got 942 likes, 314 shares, and 59 comments! Charmin keeps the conversation going with this hashtag by tweeting and retweeting multiple times each day, posting statuses on Facebook, etc. The #tweetfromtheseat hashtag now gets hundreds of posts each day on various platforms.
Sears’ #ThisIsSuper Campaign
This campaign just began at the end of May. But it’s a great one. Sears is getting a ton of shares from this campaign. Watch the video and you’ll see why (disclosure: I am a dad & sometimes get teary-eyed with stuff like this):
How Can You Do This With Your Company?
What is your company’s goal/mission/focus? Are you trying to build your brand or authority online? Do you want to acquire leads or email addresses? Is your goal to sell products? No matter your industry, you can create an engaging marketing campaign with a solid hashtag strategy. At first, the deodorant and soap industry seems incredibly boring, but Old Spice has obviously done some incredible things and has made it exciting. Here’s a great article on how to develop a content strategy for boring industries.
So let’s forget about “boring”. Nothing is boring. What would your “hashtag strategy” be for a dentist office?
If you’re a dentist, you may want to consider giving tips and answering questions. You can do these on all social media platforms. You could use the hashtag #askadentist or #AskChicagoDentist or #AskDrJones. Post a few tips to start. Point people to some quality blog posts of yours or some other reliable resources. Get the hashtag going. Tell your family and friends to use it and ask you questions. Here’s an idea: Print out the hashtag and post it on your reception desk. Make sure that everyone sees it and knows that they can use it! I promise you that you will see results.
How about an online bike retailer?
Let’s do another example. Let’s say you run an online bicycle ecommerce site. Think about your community. What do your fans (or potential fans) love? There are several online forums for bike/outdoor fanatics. Browse those to see what you can find. The Cycling Weekly magazine is very active on Twitter. Look at what they are doing. A good and simple hashtag could be something like #bikechat. Have it each week. Answer questions and get the conversation going. Talk about cool/fun bike paths, good foods to eat during a race, best shoes/helmets, etc. If you stick with it, it could turn into a great community and become a real source of revenue for your company.
#evianeats – great example
Try to think of a hashtag that’s either fun, engaging, helpful, or actionable. And most of all, memorable. Doing it right will not only build your brand awareness, but it will increase your revenues. Brainstorm with your team to think of something awesome. And if you need assistance, tweet me @wallaroomedia or @travelintweeter and we’ll help you out!
Google just rolled out a new layout for Google+. One of the new features is called “related hashtags”. These allow you to see other content similar to what you’re viewing (assuming that content uses a hashtag). If you click on the related hashtag, a new area pops up where you can view other related content. This further cements the fact that a hashtag strategy is crucial for your business! Google is building into their new platforms!
Twitter just posted a blog post titled How to Choose a Hashtag.
Twitter also has a great resource on their own website about the best practices for hashtags.
As of last week, Google started supporting hashtags in search. The feature is now live in the U.S. and Canada. Give it a try! Go to Google.com and search for #emmys.
Please feel free to contact us if you need help creating your own hashtag strategy! Wallaroo Media want’s to help you!
Post by Brandon Doyle