For those of you who are regular users of Twitter, I’m sure hashtags have become second nature to you. For those who are new to Twitter, or not using it at all, hashtags are essentially ‘subject tags’ – they are used at the end of a tweet to highlight to the reader what the primary purpose or topic of that tweet is.
Hashtags are now regularly used to hold conversations together, with specific conversations employing their own hashtag which is added to every tweet in that conversation. It means people can follow what’s happening, and easily search for topics in which they are interested.
So what can you do with a hashtag?
The opportunities which can be created by the hashtag are endless, limited only by your end user and your imagination. However, hashtag use currently falls into the current categories:
Using the hashtag enables you to highlight to your audience what your post is about. For example:
As you can see from the tweet above, the hashtag will also become a hyperlink which, when clicked on, takes the reader to all other tweets including that hashtag. Look out over the next few weeks for the #WorldCup hashtag that’s sure to be doing the rounds…
Perhaps the most well known example of this is the competition which was run by Moonfruit. In order to gain more Twitter followers and thus expose their brand to a wider audience, Moonfruit offered a MacBook Pro every day for 10 days to followers who simply tweeted using the hashtag #moonfruit.
The hashtag became a trending topic (explained further below) and not only gained the company more followers, but set them apart as an innovator, setting off copycat competitions across the Twittersphere. You can read more about the Moonfruit campaign via the link below:
- Twitter Promotion Done Right: Moonfruit (courtesy of Mashable)
By using a hashtag, you can link tweets together to create a conversation. Everybody in that conversation ends their tweet with the same hashtag, and as such users can search for that hashtag and get involved.
A great example of this is Enterprise Nation‘s #watercoolermoment, a Twitter conversation which takes place every weekday from 11am onwards, allowing homeworkers to come together to chat, relax and do what office worker would do at the water cooler! By utlising this hashtag, the conversation has become something of a convention for homeworkers, who, due to it’s regularity and clear guidelines, have come to expect the conversation (so much so that in the absense of the original organiser someone else will take over).
What is a trending topic?
A trending topic is simply a topic which has been identified by a hashtag and which is currently being used by the most Twitter users. Trending topics show up on the twitter.com homepage, meaning those topics get a lot of exposure. Having your topic trending will usually mean more followers and more engagement for you – but don’t forget, these are global trends, so there’s plenty of competition for that top spot!
Great! Let’s create a subject, make a competition and start a conversation!
Err, no. Easy as it all sounds, the problem with all of these guidelines is that they are done. They’re in the past, finished, gone. Copying the ideas of others simply cannot be the answer when utilising social media marketing.
What can be done, however, is taking inspiration from ideas. Seen a competition you like? Perhaps you could do something more relevant to your business or to your campaign. Got something interesting to talk about? Your topic doesn’t need to be trending to be useful to people.
The holy grail, however, of online marketing is to innovate. Coming up with something which is drawn from the wants, needs, experiences and motivations of your end user can help you to stand out from the competition, and even gain you some media interest and further exposure.
To find out how the innovation and experience of the Zabisco team could handle this for you on a budget, visit www.scrapyourwebsite.com.