4 Tips to Formulate a #Hashtag Strategy

How to build (or improve) your hashtag approach

Social networking site Facebook rolls out searchable hashtags (Image: Facebook)

Hashtags aren’t just for tweeters. Now that hashtags are supported by Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+ and Pinterest, every social media campaign ought to have a pertinent hashtag.

So, are you wondering what it means to have a “hashtag strategy?” Take this post, for example: “Need a car? Check out our site today #buy.” That’s what’s known as an empty hashtag and does not consist of a true hashtag strategy. Why? Because posts like these are less likely to motivate the reader, and lack creativity and, most of all, a call to action. Here, BlackEnterprise.com provides you with four tips to building a stronger hashtag strategy:

Be Trendy

A popular trending topic such as #ThrowbackThursday could win traffic for a brand that has been in existence for over a decade.

Topics on social networks vary, so keeping up with what’s going on in the media is one way to keep your brand relevant online. For example, you work for an environmental advocacy group and today’s trending topic is #ActOnClimate. Here is an excellent opportunity for you to share your organization’s offerings, engage with others and potentially gain new advocates.

Get Chatty

Twitter chats have been in existence for awhile but there are many other ways to utilize hashtags. Consider the hangouts via Google+ as a great way to enhance your conversations.

If your brand has new information to share, why not create a chat surrounding a particular hashtag? The hashtag is used in this instance so that those participating can follow the questions and answers within the stream. You’ll also be able to track the analytics—how many accounts were reached, number of impressions and most active user on the chat, among other stats.

“Launching a chat has helped me share my expertise and those of people whom I admire in the industry,” says Akia Garnett of My Brand Builder. Since launching #MYBRANDCHAT, she has garnered leads and recognition for her business.

Tag with Care

The easiest way to lose followers or fans is to spam them. Carefully consider how others view your posts.

Overusing hashtags is the equivalent of spamming. Hashtags strewn through a post are viewed as advertisements and distasteful, whereas one or two well chosen tags at the end of a statement are viewed as clever and witty. Additionally, excessive hashtags will more than likely be restricted by certain social media sites to impede misuse.

Have Fun with It

People love a brand with personality, so don’t be shy. In fact, in the social media realm, the quirkier you are, the more attention you’re likely to garner.

When crafting your strategy, consider your reader. Seven times out of 10 they’re accessing your social media feed from a mobile device, meaning you have seconds to capture their attention. So make your hashtags compelling, even humorous depending on the campaign.

S. Lynn Cooper is a Washington, DC-based digital strategist and communications expert. Cooper is the founder and director of Socially Ahead, a strategic communications agency that specializes in the creation of social and digital strategies and campaign management. Follow her on Twitter at @sociallyahead .

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