#AmIDoingItRight?: Hashtagging for Businesses
August 14th, 2014 by
Hashtags allow you expand your business’ reach, and engage with customers in a new way. Check out these quick tips on using and creating hashtags for your business’ #socialmedia accounts.
1. Do More KISS-ing:
In 1960, the U.S. Navy enacted the “Keep it simple, stupid” principle. Simplicity can go a long way in the world of hashtagging, whereas complexity can get lost in the shuffle. The United States Naval Academy does a good job of keeping it simple on their Twitter page. Here are some rules of thumb:
- Keep it short: A good hashtag is typically under 10 characters and only 1-3 words long. Good: #thatwaseasy vs. Bad*: #itainteasybeingcheesy
- *This is okay if you are actually in the cheese business
- Keep it simple: Try not to use words with too many repeated letters, or words that look funky without spacing. #santaanaarts #wheatthins (Side note: Don’t be afraid to use capital letters at times. They can save your hashtag. #SantaAnaArts #WheatThins)
- Keep it straightforward: If you want to use an acronym, you can, just don’t get wild with it. The Naval Academy uses #USNA18 to depict their incoming class of plebes. It’s easy for plebes, family, and friends to remember, and it leaves plenty of room for commentary in the tweets.
2. Get a Second (and third) Opinion:
Despite the saying that “All publicity is good publicity,” the last thing you want to do is create a hashtagging nightmare. If you haven’t been invited to Su’s anal bum party (aka #susanalbumparty – aka Susan Boyle’s Album Release Party), you may want to have someone from inside, and outside your company take a second look. There are lots of ways that brands can go viral in a negative way, so it’s best to double check before becoming the butt of a joke.
3. Make Consistency a Priority:
No matter what hashtag you choose, be sure to keep it consistent across all of your platforms. It is frustrating to the consumer when they don’t know what to hashtag. A popular TLC show, My 600-lb. Life, incorporates live tweets into the show, but they fail to communicate what the official hashtag is. While #My600lbLife and #my600poundlife aren’t that different, half of the population is missing out. Pick one and stick to it.
4. Commit to Your Hashtag Offline:
Once you’ve decided on a hashtag, be sure to get the word out. Many big brands push their hashtag out on all different forms of media, including packaging, print, and TV commercials. You can find ways to do this on a smaller scale, such as adding it to your email signature, including it on an event invitation, or even holding a contest (internal or external) to let your customers and employees know.
5. Follow Through:
Once people are using your hashtag, don’t forget to thank them! A quick follow-up with your consumer via like, share, retweet, +1, or repin can go a long way. Hashtags are great because you can see the most popular, and the most recent, posts using the hashtag. It’s also a great way to find influencers and followers in your industry. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
Have you ever completely failed, or succeeded, with a hashtag? Let us know in the comments.
These are some great guidelines to follow Maggie, thank you for sharing. I also find it to be daunting to read a business tweet that has about 10 hashtags. This blatant over-use tells me that they don’t know what they are doing and as the reader I don’t really understand what they are trying to promote due to the lack of focus. I like the point you make to commit to the hashtag – even offline!
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