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How to #Hashtag on Twitter

If you’re a Twitter user, then you’ve seen hashtags. You may have even joined a conversation by clicking a featured hashtag displayed on your Twitter home page. Hashtags can turn your Twitter campaign from a brief sputter into a memorable firecracker. Best of all, you don’t have to own a huge business to get the benefits of this free marketing tool.

Why Bother With Hashtags?
Hashtags can significantly increase engagement with your tweets. According to Constant Contact, tweets with hashtags tend to earn twice as much engagement. Also, only 24 percent of tweets currently contain hashtags, which creates a large opportunity for marketing. Currently, 43 percent of hashtag users think that tagging is useful. In addition, 34 percent of social media users take advantage of hashtags to follow topics or brands of interest.

As you build your Twitter base, you’ll most likely build your customer base. Research from SocialCaffeine.com shows that 67 percent of Twitter users are more likely to buy from brands that they follow. Also, 79 percent of Twitter users are more likely to recommend brands that they follow.

Keep in mind that using a hashtag without researching it first can create a PR disaster. For example, in 2011, Entenmann’s co-opted an existing hashtag and tweeted, “Who’s #notguilty about eating all the tasty treats they want?” Unfortunately, the hashtag #notguilty was being used for the Casey Anthony murder trial. The “not guilty” verdict was controversial, and Entenmann’s, by not doing research, mistakenly associated its brand with the trial.

Choosing the Perfect Hashtag
When you decide to hashtag your tweets, you can either choose an existing hashtag or create your own. Before you start, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why do you want to create a hashtag? Ask yourself what you want your hashtag to accomplish. Should it have a long-term effect or be tied to a specific event? For example, when Nik Wallenda crossed the Grand Canyon on a tightrope, the Discovery Channel used #skywire to promote the occasion.
  2. Why would anyone else choose to join a conversation using your hashtag? In the U.K., Domino’s Pizza offered to drop the price of a pizza one pence for every person that tweeted #letsdolunch during a set time interval. The price of a pizza dropped from £15.99 to £7.74, and Domino’s honored the deal for every one of its customers.
  3. Is anyone else already using your hashtag? Sometimes, you don’t need to create your own hashtag. You can piggyback off of one that has already been created. However, make sure that you know the context in which the existing hashtag is being used. Also, make sure that your use of the hashtag actually adds value to the conversation.
  4. Is your hashtag memorable? Pick a hashtag that people will easily remember. Keep it short and easy to spell, and make it appealing to people that don’t usually follow your brand.
  5. Can you incorporate keywords? Choose something that people would search for when looking for a business like yours.
  6. Is it kosher? Read your hashtag before you tweet it. One embarrassing example of not reading a hashtag occurred when Susan Boyle launched her first album. Her PR team chose the hashtag #susanalbumparty. Definitely a Twitter fail.
  7. Can I combine it with other marketing efforts? Combining your hashtag with direct mail, e-mail or other marketing media can greatly increase its reach. For example, take out a print ad and use your hashtag in the ad’s copy.

One tip: Avoid using Facebook hashtags. Research shows that hashtags on Facebook actually reduce shares and engagement. To learn more about creating effective social media strategy, call Infintech today.


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