Does your business have a hashtag strategy? It’s easy enough to add one or two relevant hashtags to the end of a tweet – like #education, #technology, #marketing and other industry- or topic-specific keywords. But are you really maximizing on hashtags this way?
Sure, you might get your tweets in front of a few more eyeballs, but to really be a hashtag pro, you’ve got to think outside the box.
Here are three creative ways you can use hashtags to promote your business:
Encourage user-generated content
Hashtags are great to use when promoting branded content, but have you tried using them to get more content?
You probably have a core group of Twitter followers who make a point to see most of your tweets. These are the loyal customers, the brand ambassadors. And they’re the ones who will happily tweet about your business if you ask.
Instead of you taking photos of your product using a branded hashtag, try creating a hashtag meant for your customers to use when they tweet about your brand.
You can use this strategy to encourage customers to take photos of themselves enjoying your new product, or using it in innovative ways or locations. Or, you can ask them to tweet their ideas for future content, answers to a trivia question, or reviews.
Once you’ve gathered some participation, don’t forget to share these tweets with your Twitter followers. Retweet all of them, or just your favorites. But make sure you thank each and every follower for participating, to acknowledge their efforts.
Run a cross-channel campaign
Hashtags are no longer exclusive to Twitter, even though they started out that way. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and a host of other social networks support hashtags, and they more or less work in a similar way on each: they collect content that includes a hashtag in a single page, typically sorted by popularity, most recent or a combination of the two.
You can use this knowledge to your advantage not only when marketing on Twitter, but on these other platforms and even in your print material. Just use a single hashtag for your campaign, and support it on all of your social profiles. Include it on your in-store signage, fliers, email signature, and anywhere else you are promoting the campaign. This way, you will enjoy more consistent branding, and your customers will be able to more easily connect with your business on whichever platform they use.
Have conversations in real-time
Rather than simply appending related hashtags to your tweet, you can create a hashtag designed to spark conversation.
You might want to create a dedicated customer service hashtag that your customers can use to contact you with questions, comments and concerns. Or, you could host a Twitter chat where you ask and answer questions for a set period of time each week or month.
This use of hashtags puts the “social” back in social media, and allows your brand to connect one-on-one with highly engaged fans. It can be great for building loyalty, increasing exposure, or improve your business’ public image.