Why You Should Create Your Own Twitter #Hashtag & How to Do It
Posted on August 29, 2012
Filed Under Content Marketing Strategy, General, Internet Marketing, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Social Networking, Social Networks, Traffic Building, Twitter, Viral Marketing
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!
Launching Your Tag
Launch your tag by posting a well thought out tweet every couple hours with your hashtag tagged on it. Use tools like TweetDeck or Hootsuite to schedule out your tweets so you don’t have to manually tweet out your hashtag.
Then use a Twitter monitoring service like Twilert to watch for your hashtag. Whenever someone posts something to your hashtag, respond to it. Spur discussion, contribute to the conversation and encourage people to continue using your hashtag.
Give your hashtag some time to catch on. Sometimes it’ll catch on right away and spread like wildfire right out of the gate. At other times, it can take a couple weeks. Watch the overall momentum of your tag closely and constantly nurture the tag.
Be sure to also add your tag to online tag dictionary tools.
Rinse and Repeat
Not every tag you try to launch will succeed. Some will succeed spectacularly and bring in far more tweets than you could have imagined. After every hashtag campaign, take a step back and review what worked and what didn’t work.
Make sure to also followup with any new followers that came from the campaign. Message them directly to introduce yourself and start to build a relationship with them. Creating a hashtag is just the first step.