Why You (And Your Business) Should Play Hashtag Games on Twitter

What would you do #ifyoureallylovedher? Do you have a favorite #modernbeatlesssong? If you feel compelled to answer these frivolous questions, you’re not alone: hashtags were the most popular trending topic in 2010. Twitter users love jumping in there and adding their two-cents to these often humorous hashtag games. But they’re more than just a meaningless bit of fun – hashtag games are a social media marketer’s dream.

So, why are these trending topics called “games” anyway? Well, they are basically mini-word games, like the ones you played as a kid. Something along the lines of “Would you rather”. Twitter users add a hashtag to their tweet, and try to come up with a usually humorous answer to the implied question.

For instance, a while back the ever-popular hashtag #idontunderstandwhy was trending. Doing a quick search for the hashtag will reveal that Twitter users don’t understand Twitter’s 140-character limit, mens’ attitudes towards women, and why some musicians collaborate with others. This hashtag is so popular that new tweets come in faster than Twitter can load them.

A second thing you’ll probably notice, however, when searching for this particular hashtag is that there’s a promoted tweet by Nextag sitting at the top of the search results.

This is a case-in-point for why hashtag games are so powerful for marketers: they get some of the most Twitter traffic of all of the possible trending topics out there.

People participating in hashtag games will often search for them before they write their own contribution, to make sure they understand the game being played. And every time they search, they’ll see your tweet at the top of their results.

Before you go out and purchase every trending hashtag out there, there are some caveats:

  • Make sure your Promoted Tweet is similar in tone and topic to the hashtag game you’re targeting
  • Don’t usurp a hashtag game just for advertising: find a way to play the game and market yourself or your business in a single tweet
  • Don’t take over too many hashtag games at once, or Twitter users might turn against you

Marketers have already begun figuring out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to promoting their brand using a hashtag game. One of the best ways you can figure out how it could work for you is by doing a little hands-on research: check out the currently trending hashtag games and see what kind of Promoted Tweets appear at the top.

Even if you can’t afford Twitter’s Promoted Tweets just yet, you should still consider playing hashtag games. They are one of the hottest things on Twitter right now, and they’ll show your followers that you’re willing to have a little fun while microblogging.