I’m sure we all know what a ‘hashtag’ is, but what are the real benefits to your business of using and creating hashtags? To put it simply, an increased reach equals increased click rates; which means an inevitable increase in conversion rates. Studies show that tweets receive a significant increase in click rates when using 2-3 hashtags (RiteTag, 2016), if we look at a very generic hashtag, #Travel, you can see below just how much greater reach it offers than simply posting a tweet.
The numbers speak for themselves, people are searching for and reading tweets with #Travel; imagine this is linked to your homepage. The possibilities are endless. Want to play around and see a huge variety of analytic for different hashtags? Then click here.
But what happens when you create your own unique hashtag? Knapp et al (2015) found that it offers 3 key benefits:
- Tracking performance and engagement
- Reaching out to users
- Making your business seem more human
Tracking performance and engagement
By creating your own unique hashtag, you can track exactly how well users are interacting with your brand or product. It also allows for all of the related tweets to be stored under that tag, and therefore easily conduct a search and analyse the latest feedback. The practical implications of this are unlimited, but are specifically useful for marketing strategies such as promoting a contest or requesting responses for a question posted.
Reach out to users
The internet is a big place, and its easy to get lost in it especially non-specific marketing. Having a unique hashtag, places all responses into one single place but also creates a direction for user interaction with a product and brand. Thus creating a two way dialogue. This offers a fantastic opportunity to create a rapport with followers rather than just being a faceless corporate entity.
Making your business seem more human
A unique hashtag makes your company seem like more than just a faceless business. Adding this unique personality will inevitably create a relationship with loyal customers and entice new customers. People do business with people, not with a logo; and this is reflected in social media, which are all about interacting with people. Adding this creative edge shows a reflection of your business’s personality and users will engage with it; creating a trust element and a brand image.
So the importance and benefits of unique hashtags are pretty big. What we need to know now is how to make an effective unique hashtag. Here are some simple tips for creating your own hashtag (Quin, 2014):
- Don’t use punctuation or symbols (other than the # sign obviously)
- Numbers are okay, but only if they’re combined with letters as well (E.g. #alex21)
- If you create a hashtag that is a combination of words, then capitalise each word. It makes it easier to read!
- Keep them short and direct. Tweets are only 140 characters, don’t ruin the rest of your followers tweet.
- Make sure that the hashtag being used is relevant.
- Finally, make sure that the unique hashtag is actually unique. Do your research, search for it on twitter first!
Lets look at examples of how hashtags have gone horribly wrong, because that’s always fun, right? (Waldram, 2012)
- #McDstories – In 2012, McDonalds decided to launch this hashtag, designed to be used to show the produce supply chain. However it ended up with a backlash of negative tweets with people tweeting about finding horrible things in their food. Not ideal.
- #QantasLuxury this mistake was all about timing. As this unique hashtag was brought out, Qantas’s entire fleet was grounded. This led to the hashtag being used for rants and complaints and certainly nothing luxurious.
- #Susanalbumparty was created to promote the release of Susan Boyle’s new Album. I don’t think this one really needs explaining as to why it went horribly, horribly wrong. Safe to say it was swiftly changed, becoming #SusanBoyleAlbumParty.
The list goes on, to see more unique hashtags gone wrong, click here.
The most important rule to remember when using your unique hashtag, is to complement it with general hashtags so as to include users who are unaware of your current unique hashtag. Get it right, and a unique hashtag is a fantastic digital marketing tool.
Knapp, L et al. (2015). Hashtags and How to Use Them on Social Media. The Journal of Medical Practice Management : MPM. 31 (2), p131-133.
Ritetag. (2016). Popular Twitter hashtags for travel. Available: https://ritetag.com/best-hashtags-for/travel. Last accessed 13th Jan 2016.
Quin, R. (2014). How To Use Hashtags Effectively In Your Social Media Marketing. Available: http://www.socialbro.com/use-hashtags-effectively/. Last accessed 13th Jan 2016.
Waldrum, H. (2012). #Susanalbumparty: Top five Twitter hashtag PR disasters. Available: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/shortcuts/2012/nov/22/twitter-susan-boyle-susanalbumparty. Last accessed 13th Jan 2016.