Hashtags are one of the biggest and most important inventions to hit the Twitter platform. Using hashtags, people can talk to other people who have similar interests, start public “chat rooms” on the fly and discuss specific topics in a group fashion. For marketers and business people, hashtags give them the ability to generate buzz, to garner more participation and to host interesting conversations.
The idea behind a hashtag is pretty simple. The hashtag consists of the pound symbol (“#”) followed by the name of the hashtag. The hashtag is usually a word or series of words with their spaces taken out. For example, #allabouthashtags or #hashtag101. These hashtags are appended to the end of tweets or used in the middle of tweets.
If people want to participate in that hashtag’s conversation, they can simply search for that hashtag in Twitter to bring up all the tweets tagged with that hashtag. Outside tools like Hootsuite can turn hashtags into feeds that you can follow alongside your main feed.
Why Create Your Own Hashtag?
There could be a lot of different reasons to create your own hashtag.
For one, it sets you up as the authority in a field and helps build credibility. You become the trend setter rather than the trend follower. If you regularly put out new hashtags that people end up using, people will start looking to you as someone to pay attention to.
If you’re the one setting the hashtag trends, you’ll also be retweeted more often. Your tweets will be at the very center of the hashtag’s conversation. It’s a fantastic way to tweet your way to thousands of followers.
Finally, you can drive and steer your own conversations. You can create vibrant discussions that involve your whole community and everyone your community knows. That simply isn’t possible with any other advertising medium.
So how do you create your own hashtag campaign?
Start With a Clearly Defined Purpose
What do you want your hashtag to do? Common reasons to create a hashtag include:
- You’re hosting a contest.
- You want to host a live chat.
- You want to generate buzz.
- You want to host a lively discussion.
- You want to analyze a trend.
- You want people to contribute ideas.
Get clear on your reason for wanting to start a hashtag. Having that clarity will make it easier for you to come up with the right tag as well as come up with tweets that help you launch the tag.
Doing Your Due Diligence
Before launching your own tag, do a bit of research. Use tag research tools like Tagalus (link to the site) and Hashtags.org (link to the site) to figure out if there’s already a tag out there talking about what you’re talking about. If there is, consider either joining their conversation or creating an offshoot. Instead of having to start a tag from scratch, sometimes it makes sense to create a discussion within another tag.
If nothing like your tag exists, then you’re golden!
Social gifting is one of the fastest growing trends in the retail marketing space. In fact, Starbucks is expecting social gifting to take up as much as one fifth of all its gifting revenues in the very near future. Industry experts believe that social gifting is poised to explode and become one of the largest commercial internet sensations of the year.
What exactly is social gifting – And why is it exploding in popularity so quickly? Let’s explore this new medium in detail.
Social Gifting: What is it exactly?
Social gifting is a platform through which people can give other people gifts through social networks. These gifts can come in the form of gift cards, or for goods directly.
For example, say it’s your sister’s birthday. She lives in Spain and you don’t want to go through the trouble of asking her for her address and making sure a package that you send her actually makes it there. Instead, you just send her a $20 Starbucks gift card – All through Facebook.
Many of these services also allow you to pool your money with other people. For example, let’s say it’s your father’s birthday. Individually, you might be willing to contribute $100 for a gift. However, instead of buying a $100 gift, you use a social gifting app to co-ordinate contributions from other family members as well. At the end of the day, you buy your father a brand new $750 laptop.
Social gifting takes the hassle out of giving people gifts. You no longer have to walk down to a store and purchase a gift certificate, then wrap it up and wait to give it to someone by hand. You no longer have to make dozens of calls and send dozens of emails to co-ordinate an expensive gift. Social gifting hands all of this for you.
Today’s social gifting is still in the very early stages of development. The technology can do everything it claims to do, but still lacks many of the bells and whistles. With millions of venture capital dollars flowing into this budding industry however, it’s only a matter of time before advanced features start to surface. As of now, there is no clear industry leader just yet.
People often treat powerful things that they don’t understand with an air of mysticism. In today’s digital age, social media is often treated with reverence – and mystery. People don’t quite know what to make of it or how social media can help their business. Yet they treat it as if it were a magic pill that could solve all their customer relationship and marketing troubles.
I’ve got bad news for you: Social media is not magic. You can’t wave a Twitter wand and watch all your customer complaints disappear overnight. You probably won’t launch a viral video that’ll get 10 million views in the next week either.
The truth is that for most businesses, social media isn’t a magic pill. Instead, to succeed in social media you need to connect with your human side.
Most Businesses Focus Too Much on Revenue
It’s natural for businesses to treat each marketing avenue in a methodical way. Just as you might ask what the ROI is for your banner advertising, it makes sense to ask the same question of social media. You might measure this not only in terms of money, but in manpower and energy.
Unfortunately, that’s not how social media works. Social media is a relationship building tool. It’s like trying to measure the ROI on going to networking minglers. You might not see a return on that mingler for two years – then a contact that you met through that mingler might become your biggest customer.
Social media requires that you think in terms of connections rather than in terms of revenue.
Tactics and Tools Are Not the Answer
The latest Twitter “virality tracking tool” or the latest “get 10,000 YouTube views” service is not the answer to your social media woes. Many webmasters tend to focus too much on their tools or their tactics.
At the end of the day, tools and tactics can only amplify what you have at the foundation of your social media: The connection you have with your audience. How much your message resonates with people? If your message doesn’t resonate, it doesn’t matter what tools or tactics you use.