WEB & TECH / OCT. 15, 2014
version 3, draft 3

How to Use Hashtags for Greater Branding Benefits

Hashtags are essential to taking advantage of Twitter. Research direct from Twitter reveals brands that use hashtags can experience 50% more engagement than brands that don’t use hashtags. That’s more than enough to demonstrate that hashtags are pretty important for building a brand. This is why we’re going to go through a step-by-step process to demonstrate how you should go about using hashtags for greater branding benefits.

Tag Research

Firstly, you need to find the right keywords to use for your tag. Most people do this manually because the only accurate reports cost money. Begin by using your own site keywords as tags, especially if they’re reasonably popular and relevant. You can also look at seasonal tags that are trending right now. Look at industry leaders in your sector to see what they’re using. This is always a good place to start.

Related Tags

Hashtagify.me is a free tool you can use to find related hashtags. Enter the hashtag or keyword into the search box and you’ll get a list of related tags. You can click under the graphic that comes up and the Table Mode will appear. This will allow you to have a different visual representation of the most popular tags.

Of course, this tool isn’t flawless. You won’t use all of the tags that turn up. This is where you have to use a combination of discretion and common sense. List a number of tags and keep this list for you to test later on.

Spelling Rules

If you’re creating your own hashtags, make sure you check the spelling. Getting this wrong can lead to a lot of embarrassment, as singer Susan Boyle discovered. She attempted to use the tag #SusanAlbumParty. The problem is she didn’t check the spelling and it came out as #SusAnalBumParty. Of course, it went viral, but it came at the cost of global humiliation.

Stepping on Another’s Toes 

Make sure any tag you use doesn’t step on the toes of another campaign. It isn’t a problem if you both have similar intentions, but things can go wrong if it has no relation whatsoever. DiGiorno Pizzas was left red-faced when they used the hashtag #WhyIStayed. They thought it was funny to say because they had pizza. The problem was this was a hashtag surrounding domestic abuse cases. Naturally, people thought they were making fun of it, which led to a significant backlash.

Testing Hashtags

Once you’ve got a list of hashtags you want to use, test them out. You should test them out at the best time of the week and at the best time of the day. You want to give your tags the best chance of succeeding. Using tools like Tweetdeck for this can make it easy to construct different Tweets and to get them out at the right time. Make sure you measure the number of times people engage with the different tags. You’ll soon start to see what works and what doesn’t.

Start Tagging and Start Tracking

All results on social media should have tracking attached to them. This rule applies even after you’ve finished your primary research stage. No matter how successful you are, you must always track results on a day-to-day basis. When things start to change at some point, these results will be essential for getting yourself back on track again.

Furthermore, make sure that you continue to test out new hashtags. Set yourself a target for a specific number of tags you will test on a weekly basis. The world of social media is forever changing and you need to keep up with the trends. Resting on your laurels is a sure fire way of seeing your engagement levels drop.

 

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