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How to Use Hashtag Marketing to Grow Your Business on Twitter

  • 1
  • November 11, 2016

hashtag marketing

Twitter hashtag marketing sounds so simple. Just throw on some hashtags to the end of Tweets, right? Well, there’s actually a bit more to it than that.

Done correctly, hashtag marketing can expand your reach on Twitter, getting you in front of new, relevant audiences. This means more potential followers, prospects, and, most importantly, business from your Twitter marketing efforts.

I’m sure most of you know what hashtags are. You’ve probably seen them used thousands of times. However, for those of you just starting out with Twitter, here are some examples of hashtags:

– #twitter

– #socialmedia

– #quotes

These are searchable, clickable terms or phrases people add to Tweets. When you search or click on one, you’ll see a stream of Tweets that contain the hashtag.

Here are six excellent ways you can use hashtag marketing to boost your business on Twitter.

1. Branded Hashtags

Hashtags can be branded to your company. Think hashtags like #JustDoIt.

I’m sure you know who that hashtag belongs to. A branded hashtag that is unique to your company is a powerful tool.

A hashtag can be used for the purpose of branding your business on Twitter. They can fuel motivation and help people understand what your company is about. Hashtags like #PutACanOnIt (Red Bull) and #BeatCancer (Livestrong) are great example of injecting branding techniques into your hashtags.

So how do you create a branded hashtag?

The first step is making sure the hashtag isn’t used. Do a quick search on Twitter before you start. If it’s regularly used, move on to another hashtag. If it’s not being used, it’s all yours and have at it!

Do note that there’s no such thing as ‘owning’ a hashtag. Competitors can use your hashtags too. I’ve gotten countless emails from companies who want to own a Twitter hashtag. You can’t. EVERYONE can use it. You have to fight for it to really make it your own.

What you can do is take it up a notch by registering a hashtag on a directly site like Twubs.com. Competitors might think twice about using your hashtag if you do this.

You also want to keep your branded hashtag short and easy to remember. Again, think hashtags like #JustDoIt.

Ted Rubin is an excellent example of someone who owns a hashtag well. He tweets #RonR, which stands for Return on Relationship (a title of his book and his concept).

He uses this hashtag in nearly all his tweets and it’s definitely branded for him. He even has a separate Twitter handle @R_onR to spread the word of this concept even more!

ted-rubin-ronr-hashtag

You can also “borrow” a brand’s hashtag for added exposure to your tweets.

Check out how Matt Manero is using the buzz Nike created with their #JustDoIt hashtag to get his tweet in front of more eyeballs:

2. Event Hashtags

Using hashtags for an event is a great addition to your Twitter marketing strategy. The consolidation of tweets around a particular occasion allows both the audience and the organizer to gauge the success of the event, increase reach by compounding on people’s interest and to build awareness of your event.

Here are some ideas from me when considering event hashtags:

– Do keep your hashtag is SIMPLE and memorable

– Don’t use too many acronyms

– Don’t use the year in your hashtag. Half of the people will forget to use it.

Here’s some great examples of event hashtags:

– #StyleCon

– #SMMW

– #Mobcon

You can also piggy back off event hashtags. Take the example above, #StyleCon. You could use this hashtag to find relevant accounts actively interested in style if that’s your target market.

Do a quick search of #StyleCon and start following the accounts tweeting with this hashtag. You’ll get a lot of follow backs and this is a great way to start a conversation and begin building a relationship on Twitter.

You can also market to people with your content that’s relevant to users following these hashtags. But tread lightly with this strategy as it’s easy to abuse and seem spammy.

You’ll need to find a way to tie your content in with the event. If you were there or have access to some of the presentations from an event, maybe create a piece of content about that and put your own spin on it, then share it with that hashtag for added exposure.

3. Campaign Hashtags

Campaign hashtags are a whole other ball game and you will need to do your research. I’m not only talking about researching if the hashtags are used, but you’ll also need to consider if the hashtags are similar to any other hashtags, if it is aligned to your campaign’s message, etc .

The reason we need to do that is because a campaign hashtag needs to last! An event hashtag need to be relevant for the duration of the event and perhaps a couple of days after, but a campaign can last for weeks, months or even longer.

Once you’ve figured out a hashtag, you have to start promoting your campaign hashtags as a method for your customers to engage with you

Think about hashtags like #ShareACoke. It’s so straightforward. This hashtag has done extremely well.

Applebee’s also created a great campaign with the #BurgerSelfie hashtag. Check out how this hashtag encourages user-generated content for Applebee’s:

And, bonus, look at how Applebee’s uses this Tweet to start a conversation with that user:

applebees-twitter-conversation

That is a great example of a brand using Twitter to really connect with their customers. ~ARA was even able to plant the seed of dessert while the diner was still at the table!

You can also organize a Twitter contest to get people to use your hashtag. Twitter contests can be a great way to spread your campaign hashtag.

The Social Quant runs a contest each month alongside their Twitter Marketing That Sells 14-Day Challenge with the #TMTSChallenge hashtag.

Participants are given an easy way to Tweet out that message for a chance to win 3 free months of the Social Quant service and Bruce Van Horn’s Become a Twitter Genius course.

It’s a win-win for participants and the brand.

4. National Day Hashtags

These are of my favorite hashtags. They are non-official “holidays” created by – well, I actually have no idea who creates these, but they’re still awesome!

Why? Because they’re FUN! They’re things like #nationaldogday or #nationalcoffeeday.

These are fun hashtags that your company can chime in on in creative ways. Before you join any of them, be sure to target hashtags that are suitable for your demographic. If you’re in the health industry, National Fast Food Day probably isn’t the best national day for you to get involved with.

If you own a fast food franchise, go ahead and take full advantage of it.

Here’s a list of fun days you can participate this month.

– November 10th: National Vanilla Cupcake Day (#NationalVanillaCupcakeDay)

– November 14th: National Pickle Day

– November 16th: National Fast Food Day

– November 18th: Mickey Mouse Birthday

– November 23rd: National Espresso Day

– November 25th: Black Friday

– November 26th National Cake Day

If you want more choices, you can check out the National Day Calendar.

There are also hashtags that go along with days of the week you can use to increase reach and get exposure with.

Check out how Peg Fitzpatrick (@pegfitzpatrick) used #MondayMotivation with an inspiring graphic.

It’s a great message and got a lot of engagement!

Figure out how you can participate and take advantage of the viral component…and the fun!

5. Trending Hashtags

Trending hashtags are popular hashtags that are happening in the moment. These hashtags will show up at the right side of your Twitter profile.

At the moment of writing this blog post, I can see

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-10-53-02-pm

For an excellent example of how to participate in such hashtags, I recommend you follow @DiGiornoPizza. They do a great job of using trending hashtags to their advantage.

For example, for the hashtag #NewMovieRatings, they made sure to participate using language that fits their brand. They came up with “Four Cheeses out of Five Cheeses” they even included pizza emojis.

How creative is that?

Another great example of having fun with your Twitter activity using trending hashtags is this Tweet from Mike Kawula, CEO of Social Quant.

He jumped on the #kidscampaignads with a clever message and fun GIF. But most importantly, it got retweeted a lot and that means more exposure for Mike.

Just make sure you know exactly what the trending hashtag is about before jumping on it. Often times it’s not what you think and you could make an embarrassing blunder.

Also, be sensitive to the fact that some trending hashtags should not be used by brands because it’s just in poor taste.

6. Interest Hashtags

Interest hashtags are hashtags that are used in your industry. For example, I’m active in the fitness and lifestyle industry. So some of the best interest hashtags for me are:

– #fitfam

– #transformationtuesday

– #mcm

– #wcw

– #fitfam

– #fitspo

These are hashtags you’ll want to use to help support your Tweets’ content. People do search on interest hashtags when they’re looking for content on Twitter so choosing these wisely will expand your reach and get you in front of an audience much larger than just your followers.

You’ll want a base of hashtags your target market will be searching, so you’ll need to do your research. Also, really think strategically about what the Tweet is talking about and the best audience to appeal to when choosing the hastag(s) you’re going to include. Pick wisely as it’s a best practice to use no more than two hashtags per Tweet.

So, how do you find these interest hashtags for YOUR target market? Here are a couple tools to help you out:

Twitonomy

This is an excellent resource to find out what hashtags other accounts in your niche are using. All you have to do is key their names into Twitonomy, and it will show you hashtags they often use.

screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-11-04-16-pm

Let’s take @TheSocialQuant account for example. After entering the Twitter handle into Twitonomy, I got the above analysis of the hashtags they are using. Repeat this with other accounts to get a bigger list of hashtags you can be using.

Hashtagify

Hashtagify is a great tool to find the popularity of a hashtag. This tool is also great for research because it provides related hashtags to the ones you search.

 7. Twitter Chat Hashtags

Twitter chats hashtags are hashtags that are used during Twitter chats.

Twitter chats are gatherings of like-minded users held during specific hours. Usually, a guest will be invited, and an open Q&A will be held. Questions tend to range from 6-10 questions in that time.

Imagine going to an event and speaking to several people at once. That’s how Twitter chats tend to work but at 10 times the speed (in a good way).

Here are some great Twitter chats you can join to get started.

– #h2hchat Monday 12pm PT

– #sproutchat Wednesday from 2-3 pm CT

– #bufferchat Wednesday 9am PT

– #mediachat Thursday at 10pm ET

– #twittersmarter Thursdays 1pm ET

Joining chats is an excellent way to showcase your brand’s expertise on subjects that your target market is interested in. To find a chat in your industry, check out TweetReports.com.

After you become a regular at one of these chats, you can also start to use the chat’s hashtag even when the chat isn’t going on for added exposure. Just make sure you’re tweeting content that’s relevant and interesting to those who participate in the chat.

Summing up:

So you see, there’s more to hashtag marketing than to just slap a hashtag on the end of your Tweets. There’s strategy involved and, done right, you can spread the word about your business much more effectively on Twitter.

If you’ve played with some of these before, or have started after reading this, I’d love to hear how they’ve worked for you. Do share in the comment sections below.

 

hashtag marketing infographic

Author Aaron Lee

Aaron has been writing and sharing social media tips on AskAaronLee.com since 2010. He's also written for websites such as TNW, Success, Social Media Examiner, Mashable & many more. He recently started ShortofHeight.com , a fashion blog for short men.

More posts by Aaron Lee
  • Ann-Marie

    Thanks for this highly educational blog. I still do not consider myself to be a social media marketer but highly value it its power for anyone who wants more exposure marketing. I definitely will have to take more time to chew all this invaluable info.
    Thanks

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“Since we started using Social Quant on our Twitter profile, our follower count has skyrocketed 40% in 40 days!! And most importantly, engagement on our tweets has risen by the same amount — which means Social Quant is finding exactly the right followers for our brand.”
— Andrew Warner, Mixergy