Creating the next trending hashtag is easier said than done. Many of the attempts will never be seen again. It’s an art with a lot more to it than it would seem. If you can nail all of the contributing factors it will massively improve the chances of your hashtag starting to trend.
If hashtags are so difficult to get trending why do we use them? Studies show that Tweets with hashtags receive 2x more engagement than those without. Not only that but Tweets with at least 1 hashtag are 55% more likely to be retweeted. Brands using hashtags generally see around a 50% increase in their engagement. The right hashtag can really work.
Before we get started it’s important to remember that there are rules to trending.
- No hijacking a hashtag – you can’t just jump on a trending hashtag bandwagon with an unrelated topic. Likewise, you can’t use it for marketing when it’s not your hashtag
- No spam – don’t keep spamming the same thing, you’ll need new updates, new info or a new perspective otherwise it just looks like spam
- No misleading – don’t use a trending hashtag as a landing page for an unrelated website. Linking using a hashtag that isn’t relevant is seen as misleading advertising.
Breaking these rules, at least on Twitter, can result in your Tweets not being shown, sanctions on your account or even getting your account banned.
The whole point of sharing is to start a conversation that gets seen. The first and possibly most important part of starting a trend is to make it relevant. It needs to be a subject that people want to talk about. It has to be something that people are comfortable and confident to talk about. Don’t worry about being generic, generic is good, it’s relatable.
By capturing the attention of your users you’ll start getting shares and replies. If people can connect to it because it’s relatable, funny or interesting you’re more likely to start trending. If you’re promoting a product, service or brand make sure that the hashtags are also related to that. No one is going to appreciate a hashtag that has nothing to do with the content of the post.
Keep it #ShortAndSweet
Hashtags are meant to be catchy. The shorter and easier they are to read, the more the audience is going to like it. If there’s more than one word, capitalise the first letter of each word to make it readable. The fewer words you can use the easier it will be to read. Also, you’ll have to check that it doesn’t have any alternate meanings, a great example of this is #amazonshitcarshow. Undoubtedly this was done intentionally but there have been much worse ones made by mistake. “Even if it doesn’t seem that obvious – this is the internet, people will pick up on it very quickly. So, check carefully otherwise you may find your hashtag trending for all the wrong reasons,” adds Mark Ricks, content creator at Last Minute Writing and Researchpapersuk.
Timing is everything. In order to get a hashtag trending you’ll need to make sure that the most people see it. Not only this, but you need to make sure that the right people see it. This is where other influencers can come in really handy. If you can team up with them, they’ll be able to give your hashtag a kick start by creating posts to their followers with the hashtag too. To make sure you’re reaching the right people you’ll need to take a deeper dive into your audience metrics. Important things to note are who is your audience, when do they engage with your posts and what do they engage with. Once you understand these, you’ll be able to target your posts better and hopefully get that hashtag trending.
Getting people talking is key to trending. Prompt questions or answers with your post and hashtag. Then make sure that you respond to those replies. Showing you value your followers and audience is going to draw more people in. It rewards them for participating and makes it a conversation, rather than just some post they saw. That doesn’t mean that you have to beat around the bush with your hashtag though. Don’t be afraid to simply ask people to use it. If you’re running a competition or trying to get replies in, ask them in the post to use the hashtag. “You can also incentive people to use the hashtag. Give out random prizes to hashtag users, reward the best response, that sort of thing will get people using your hashtag very quickly,” adds Irene Ramirez, social media strategist at Draftbeyond and Writinity.
Don’t be put off by #Defeat
Sometimes you may think you’ve followed all the rules, tips, tricks and guides but for some reason or other, your hashtag has had its last Tweet. It is no more. The hashtag is dead. Don’t be disheartened though, this will probably happen more often than not. Hashtag trending is not an exact science. Sometimes it just doesn’t get seen by the right people. If this is the case, don’t keep trying to push it. If it hasn’t trended in the first day, it’s probably not going to. Move onto the next one, take a look at audience metrics, world events that may have distracted your audience, and see where you can improve. It’s better to try something new than to keep trying with an old hashtag after its time.
Charles Phan is a content writer and proofreader at Gum Essays and Lucky Assignments with years of experience. Chris has a degree in Marketing and enjoys writing about business strategies, entrepreneurship and startup companies.