Social Media

The 5 Ps of Effective Hashtag Marketing

Since 2007 hashtag marketing has been a mandatory part of the social media marketers playbook. We breakdown the 5 'P's you need to know to use them effectively.

Over the course of seven years, Twitter has evolved from a simple microblogging service to an indispensable tool for referral marketers. With only 140 characters, a business can reach thousands of supporters across broad swaths of demographics. But one tweet only goes so far.


#building - get it? 

The true utility of Twitter lies in hashtags—a feature that brands and customers alike can use to engage in conversations about any topic imaginable, no matter how specific.

Leveraging hashtags to increase conversions via Twitter is easy—just remember the 5 Ps of effective hashtag marketing:

1. Playbook

As with any social media marketing campaign, hashtags require some planning before you dive into the mix. Ask yourself, What do I want to gain from hashtags and how can I get there?

First, do some research. Track conversations and topics relevant to your product and find out what your customers are talking about today. B2B brands selling referral marketing software will be trying to reach a significantly different audience than, say, a B2C subscription box company.

Second, if you discover that your target customers are talking about social media trends, for example, then you’ll want to develop hashtags that are relevant to that topic. Considering hashtags as an extension of your SEO strategy and building off your existing keywords is a great place to start. But keep in mind: inconsistency between hashtags and your products may cause some confusion about what you’re actually bringing to the table.

2. Popularity

While you need to make sure your brand remains relevant in ongoing conversations, you must also be sure that you’re staying relevant to your brand. It doesn’t make sense to join a conversation on dating advice if you sell software.

Ultimately this goes back to the playbook. If you’re looking to gain more followers, using a general hashtag like #ReferralMarketing may be a good place to start. However, you’ll be competing with hundreds of thousands of other Twitter users.

Chris Messina is credited with inventing the hashtag back in 2007.  

Conversely, using a hashtag that’s too specific to your niche, such as #B2BReferrals, will target those customers who are the most likely to convert to sales. But then you run the risk of reaching an audience that’s too small to make a splash in the vast ocean that is Twitter.

Your best bet is to research what your audience is discussing and then leverage it for relevancy. There’s a fine line between niche and irrelevancy; make sure you’re on the right side of that line.

3. Persistence

Yes, a hashtag is a conversation starter. But it’s hard to get a conversation going when you’re in a room with millions of other people. Going off on your own with an inventive hashtag can be a huge boost to brand recognition—if it takes off. But you’ll need more than one tweet to get there.

Maintain relevancy to your topic and use the new hashtag consistently. Tagging influencers and satisfied customers and then looping them into the conversation is a great way to get the ball rolling.

4. Promotion

Remember, you’re not talking to yourself on Twitter, but to millions of people simultaneously. No matter how creative your hashtag may be, adding value to your tweets will motivate people to join the conversation. So think of hashtags like you would referral marketing: generate a valuable conversation surrounding your chosen topic and then watch the retweets and followers roll in.

Consider running a contest and reward users for participating in your campaign. Use a strong call to action that drives potential customers to retweet your message or a link to a cool article or blog. Above all, make sure you’re adding value to the Twitter conversation, not noise.

5. Personality

In the world of marketing, it’s easy for users to forget that brands are made up of actual people, not dollar signs. Social media platforms buck this idea and allow a company to showcase the person behind the product.

A hashtag is a great opportunity to engage customers in a two-way conversation. Ask questions, give answers, and encourage communication between your brand and its followers. Not only will you see higher engagement and conversion rates, but you’ll also have fun in the process.

Hashtags are a tough feature to crack, and one or two words can mean the difference between successful customer engagement and getting buried under an avalanche of tweets. But with the right strategy, they can bring tangible sales to your overall social media efforts.

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