How to Run Influencer Marketing Campaign

Guest post by Pankaj Narang

Leveraging the power of social media to attain target audience for your brand has become the latest norm in the marketing world. Probably, one of the key marketing techniques doing the rounds currently is Influencer Marketing.

Much more than just a buzzword, Influencer marketing opens up the door of opportunities for marketers to gain potential customers and expand their brand presence. With a recent HubSpot research stating more than 94% of the marketers believing this form of campaigning strategy to be effective, it is enough of an indication for you to launch an Influencer marketing campaign that echoes success. But, wait! It’s easier said than done.

It is true that such campaigns bring-in more followers and noticing eyes to your brand but it can go drastically wrong if done wrong. Marketers realize the potential of joining hands with established industry veterans, who boast a large number of followers. But many are confused or rather unsure on how to use the influence of such industry veterans to expand their brand value and turn their influencer marketing campaigns into success.

Here, I have compiled a definitive list that would enable you to run an influencer marketing campaign, effectively.

Defining up your Target Audience

Identifying and finding the right influencer is in no ways easy. The influencer you pick as the voice of your brand will lead to potential clients, a slight hiccup and you’re down the pipeline of failure.

In order to find the right influencer, you need to define your target audience at first. Understand where and what your target audience is and only then move forward with the campaign. You can use demographics like sex, age, and location to narrow down your ideal audience. Once you know where your customers lie, it’s time to move forward.

Finding Influencers with the same Target Audience

Now that you have a clear sight about your target audience, find influencers with the same audience as you. Applying your demographics and scrolling through profiles could be time-consuming and strenuous, instead use social analytical tools to find the most relevant influencers in accordance to the keywords you provide. Before finalizing on an influencer, thoroughly research. Some ideas that might help:

  • Scroll through each of their social networking profiles.

  • Double-check whether the individual has a bad or negative reputation or influence online or in the Press.

  • Use relevant keywords to view their activity based on the same.

  • Ensure that the individual is articulate, informative and posts content that is thoroughly researched.

Avoid the pitfalls of choosing an influencer based on their number of followers. Targeting small scale influencers not only incur less cost but they also allow you to run campaigns for long-term.

Selecting the Influencer

Arrange your shortlisted influencers in respect to their relevancy to your brand and products. Follow the below points to have a clear-cut vision of which influencer you want to select from your shortlist:

  • Use Influencer Marketing Tools like klout, kred, crowdfire, etc.

  • Conduct a keyword-based research.

  • Check out their hashtags and its relevancy to your brand.

  • Ask for recommendations from people in their network.

Sort the influencers according to rankings, from the most relevant up top to the least down below. Tada! You now have the perfect list of influencers for your brand. If one deal falls apart, you know where to find more.

Persuade the Influencer

Once you start connecting with your influencer, the time comes when you have to persuade them to be part of your influencer campaign. Influencers are conscious of what goes and what doesn’t in their social timeline and it is upto you to make them realize why your product is worth the endorsement. Offer them with free services or products from your brand to pull them into your side; after all, who doesn’t love free products!

One notable recent example was when Asus India released its Zenfone Max smartphone in the market and collaborated with various influencers. Asus sent over the mobile sets to each influencer’s house and in return asked them to tweet the image of the phone with a certain #hashtag. The influencers did not ask for any other monetary perks.

Determine the Goal of your Campaign

Before moving forward, it is imperative for you to decide the goals which you want to accomplish through your influencer campaign. Whether it is to drive sales, traffic, engagement, or more users, specify your goal to the influencer. In order to drive more sales for your product it would be wise to ask your influencer to talk about the advertised product and its benefits to his/her followers, including a purchase link to boost sales. If driving traffic is your primarily goal, then it would be wise to create a campaign centered around your website URL. Determining your goal in such a manner can help achieve your desired goal and ensure the overall success of your campaign.

Best Buy, for example, joined hands with various social media influencers to promote their all new Samsung S8 campaign. The campaign aimed to attract the masses by offering them with different discounts and coupon codes. They used different coupon code for each of the influencer but used the same picture of the mobile to imprint the image in the users mind. Genious indeed!

Create a Distinctive Hashtag and Track its Performance

Having a unique hashtag specifically for your brand can significantly impact your influencer marketing campaign, in a positive manner. Hashtags enable you to easily track the campaign performance and how the followers of the influencer are responding to the same. Whether it is impressions or engagement, you have would have a wide-angled view of the hashtag’s performance. This is of great help especially when you are in collaboration with more than one influencer, at the same time. Make sure that the hashtag is relevant to your brand and your services, and highlights the message which you want to showcase. Many top-class brands use hashtags as a way to achieve their influencer marketing goals and this is your time to succeed.

One of the most famous hashtag campaigns in recent memory was Coca-Coal’s #ShareACoke campaign, which through its brilliant concept generated massive social engagement and drove sales in huge number of sales. People snapped coke bottles with their names imprinted on them and posted on social media sites, making the unique hashtag an overnight success.

Another notable example would be Calvin Klien’s #MyCalvins campaign, which had no incentive or anything in return for the users but boomed in popularity. The campaign revolved around people sharing pictures of them wearing Calvin Kleins undergarments.

Review the Content before it goes Live

Probably one of the most ignored points of marketers is the lack of review they conduct on posts before it gets published. Most marketers allow their influencers with the creative flexibility to write down the entire content, while this is important one needs to review all the posts, images and videos before it gets published live.

On the other hand, it would also be absolutely wrong if the marketer provides the entirety of the content to publish to the influencer. You need to find a middle ground in this, and provide the influencer with the basic outline of the content, basic instructions concerning the hashtags and links, and the message you want to bring-forward. This way, both you and the influencer will have their voice conveyed through the post.

Monitor Marketing Efforts

In order to understand whether your campaign is performing at its best, you need to look back at the goals set previously. Compare the results of the campaign with your pre-set goals to assess its impact. Once you do that you will be able to answer the following questions.

  • Did you make any progress with the campaign?

  • What understanding did your grasp from your audience response?

  • Which posts performed the best and which posts failed?

Use hashtag tracking tool and other social analytic tools like socialert,mention,ritekit to gain insights regarding the campaign. Once you know the answers of the above questions, you would be more than prepared with your next campaign, thereby achieving targets beyond your pre-set goals.

The internet will continue to grow with each passing day and more and more influencers will emerge out of different verticals, the secret lies in choosing the right one. The above points will not only help you run an influencer marketing campaign with efficiency but also help you achieve your end-goal and bring-forward unmatched success towards your brand.

 

Author Bio:
Along with social media marketing Pankaj is determined to shape his ideas into perfect products. CoFounder of Socialert – Twitter Analytics Tool For Keywords, he believes in coming up with engaging tools to redefine the face of social media marketing. You can check his blog here.

Everything You Need to Know About Creating a Hashtag Plan

Guest post by Mary Walton

Surprisingly to many marketers and social media entrepreneurs, hashtags have been around for over ten years but have only recently become hugely popular across all the major social media platforms. In short, hashtags exist for two simple reasons.

Firstly, so social media users can easily find the content they are looking for when searching online. Secondly, so users are able to connect with other users who have similar interests with them.
Fast-forward to the present day and you’ll find nearly every single business using social media is using hashtags to promote their pages, their content and to connect with their users and followers. So how does your business use hashtags? Do you simply put tags that are relevant to your posts or do you have an overall plan?

Whichever category you fall under, let’s explore everything you need to know on how to create the perfect hashtag strategy.

Formatting Your Hashtags

To start with, we’ll start with the two main factors that all good hashtags have. These are readability and speed. Internet users are renowned for their short attention spans and need their information, post content and hashtags presented into an easily digestible format.

Of course, one of the most obvious things you can do here is to keep your hashtags short. This makes things easy to read for your users. Also, if you’re using multiple words, using capital letters in your hashtags can increase your readability, ensuring your hashtags are scannable, for example, #LifeofWandering.

Using Specific Hashtags

Nearly every business nowadays will be using hashtags on their posts, so it’s important that you invest time creating and using hashtags that help you stand out from the crowd. The more unique the hashtags you choose to use, the more effective they’ll be in creating your own brand identity.

“When it comes to hashtags, it may be tempting to use extremely popular tags like #insta, #instadaily or #l4l etc. However, these are some of the most commonly used tags, and they’ll simply put your content in front of spam accounts, not real users,” shares Jennifer Riley, a social media manager for Boom Essays.

Implement Calls to Action

Despite the fact we’re talking about hashtags, you can still use this area of your post to implement a clever call to action phrases that can guide your followers and users on a new journey into your business.

One of the most effective examples of this was Coca-Cola’s latest hashtag which read #ShareACoke. This was only one part of the marketing strategy at the time, but it was printed on many cans and bottles of the product.

Joined with the personalised bottles you may have seen several years ago, such as #ShareACoke with so and so, and it’s easy to see why this was such a successful campaign.

Using Your Brand Name or Product

One of the increasingly popular ways to use a hashtag is using your brand name or the name of the specific products that you’re selling, similar to the consideration above.

The chances are that a hashtag of one of these two factors won’t already exist because it’s the name of your brand, meaning you can claim it as your ‘own’. For example, if you go onto Instagram and search your brand name, how many posts are returned? If you’re looking in the 0-50 region, this is ideal as you can ensure your posts are easy to find for your customers.

Using Online Tool

When writing your post content and your hashtags, accuracy is paramount. Since most posts will have a small amount of text, problems in the content will stand out easily, and it can damage your credibility as a business and the effectiveness of your hashtags. Here are some tools to help you with your accuracy;

  • Ie vs Eg and Grammarix
    These two blogs are full of posts to help you improve your grammar skills.
  • Academized
    A writing agency that runs courses to help you improve your writing skills. This type of courses is recommended by The Huffington Post.
  • State of Writing and My Writing Way
    These two blogs have a tonne of writing guides you can download and follow to write your posts.
  • Essay Roo and Assignment Help
    These are two services that can help you edit and proofread your posts.
  • Cite It In
    A tool for adding professionally formatted citations to your posts.
  • Paper Fellows
    A writing agency that can write your social media posts on your behalf.
  • Easy Word Count
    A free tool for helping you stick to the word count on social media.

Using Hashtags to Create Competitions

Using a unique hashtag is one of the best ways to hold a competition, which has been proven time and time again to be one of the best ways to expand your reach, your post engagement rate and your overall follower count.

“Running a promotion in your business, especially a digital campaign, must have its own hashtag for people to use and get involved in. For example, getting users to send you pictures of them using your products, tagging you with the #competitionhashtag is a great way to get users to engage with your business” states Amy Walker, a social media manager for UKWritings.
Using Hashtags with Your Influencers

One of the most popular ways to boost your social media campaigns and market your business is using an influencer in which you have a content relationship with. This means you’ve hired, or has some sort of agreement, with an influencer who is now working and talking about your business to their followers.

Whether you’re using one or multiple influencers, getting them to use a hashtag that you’ve created for your campaign is a great way to get your content out there in front of new followers in an easy-to-find way.

One of the best examples of this kind of campaign was carried out by Walmart who worked with seven influencers in order to raise money to #fighthunger. The hashtag was used by Walmart and the contracted influencers who were able to raise over $3 million for charity.

 

Author bio:  Mary Walton is an editor Australian  Assignment Writing Service. She blogs on Simple Grad, her educational website. Mary enjoys working with students, for example tutoring at Big Assignment. She likes sharing her knowledge, and getting new ideas from young minds.

 

10 Great Hashtag Campaigns And What We Can Learn From Them

Guest post by Pankaj Narang

The last few years have seen a drastic change in the current digital marketing scene. With the widespread use of hashtags, almost every brand has come up with its unique hashtag and keeps running dedicated campaigns. Even though hashtags were made popular by Twitter, they are now used in almost every major social media platform like Instagram, Facebook. Google+, and more.

If you are also a social media marketer who would like to work on an engaging hashtag campaign, then you have landed at the right place. In this post, I will make you familiar with the top 10 hashtag campaigns run by popular brands in the recent time. In this way, you can learn a few things from these hashtag campaigns and work on your own marketing strategy as well.

1. #ShareACoke by Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke is not just a hashtag campaign, but a marketing drive that put the brand on the social media map. A while back, the brand came up with an amazing idea that allowed its consumers to redesign Coca-Cola bottles with their name tag. This can be done by visiting its dedicated website.

To market this genius idea, the brand ran a successful campaign on Twitter. It collaborated with stars like Ryan Seacrest and Selena Gomez to reach out to its audience. This created a viral presence for the brand and other social media powerhouses like Disney also started collaborating with Coca-Cola.

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It led to the development of their new marketing wing. Now, #ShareACoke has gifting ideas, apparels, and a lot more. All of this was a result of a thoughtfully managed hashtag campaign.

2. #IceBucketChallenge by ALS Association

The #IceBucketChallenge is undoubtedly one of the best hashtag campaigns run by a non-profit organization. The challenge became a global phenomenon and created a lot of awareness regarding ALS. Additionally, it also raised more than $100 million dollars by getting an evident support from almost every major celebrity out there.

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Since it was a fun and thoughtful campaign that inspired people to move out of their comfort zone and create awareness regarding ALS, it gained immense popularity in no time. This further proves that it doesn’t matter what tone your organization has, it can easily come up with an engaging campaign.

3. #PutACanOnIt by Red Bull

Even though the campaign was originally launched in 2014, users all over the world still post creative photos with the Red Bull can. It all started when a Twitter user posted a creative snap by using the Red Bull can in a unique way. Later, the brand invited its audience to share more pictures using the Red Bull can as a prop.

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Without spending tons of money, the brand got a prominent attention on Instagram and Twitter. It started sharing selected photos on Twitter and their website as well.

4. #CaughtOnDropCam by Nest

For a brand that deals with security camera and gadgets, it can be pretty tedious to run an engaging campaign on social media. Therefore, the #CaughtOnDropCam hashtag campaign by Nest came out as a breath of fresh air for its audience. The brand asked its users to share funny video footage of their hidden cameras – and the rest was history.

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It created a wave on social media that made everyone laugh out loud. From animals doing creepy stuff to funny family moments, the campaign featured tons of funny videos with their hashtag. It showcased a whole new side of the brand and created quite a buzz on social media as well.

5. #NationalFriedChickenDay by KFC

Even though the hashtag was not originally marketed by KFC, it helped the brand gain lots of traction. The hashtag was already trending on Twitter when KFC utilized this opportunity to use it in its favor. After jumping in, the brand started posting engaging content on Twitter that became viral in no time.

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This is one of the best examples on how brands can make the most of a trending topic and use it in their favor. While doing so, make sure that you don’t post anything insensitive and only use the hashtag in a constructive manner.

6. #TweetFromTheSeat by Charmin

Over the last few years, Charmin has come up with some of the most hilarious social media campaigns (including their toilet paper dress contest). For a brand that manufactures toilet paper, it can be a little tough to have a prominent social media presence. Nevertheless, Charmin broke this stereotype with its #TweetFromTheSeat campaign.

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The brand invited its audience to post hypothetical (or real-life) scenarios from the toilet set. It resulted in tons of hilarious tweets and gave life to a trend that is still being followed on Twitter.

7. #ThrowMeBack by Expedia

Expedia’s #ThrowMeBack hashtag was initially targeted to travelers, but it gradually gained a lot of traction and became popular on platforms like Twitter and Instagram. The brand encouraged its audience to post old vacation photos on social media with the #ThrowMeBack hashtag. With free vacation packages up for grabs, the hashtag became viral on social media.

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The brand took the advantage of an existing trend (like #ThrowBackThursday), tweaked it a little, and gave it a push with amazing prizes. This is a smart move, which we all can learn from Expedia.

8. #SFBatKid by Make a Wish Foundation

The #SFBatKid is one of the most moving and inspiring hashtag campaigns, which has been run by a non-profit organization. It proved that NGOs doesn’t always need to come up with funny campaigns. Sometimes, a thoughtful and personal campaign can also hit home and be viral.

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The campaign featured Miles (a 5-yo kid with lymphoblastic leukemia) who wanted to be Batman for a day. Make a Wish Foundation made his dream come true in San Francisco by running a live-blog and a Twitter campaign. Not only from the residents of San Francisco, it also gained a lot of traction worldwide with over 1.7 million impressions.

9. #LetsDoLunch by Domino’s

When it comes to social media, Domino’s never seems to disappoint its audience. Even though the brand has come up with lots of hashtag campaigns over the last few years, their #LetsDoLunch campaign certainly gave rise to a whole new phenomenon.

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The brand simply asked users to tweet with the #LetsDoLunch hashtag and get immediate off on their orders. Their single tweet created a wave with thousands of users posting tweets and getting tempting offs on their orders.

We all can learn how to create a limited and exclusive offer for our audience from this example. Even though this campaign lasted for a day, it helped Domino’s gain millions of impressions.

10. #OreoHorrorStories by Oreo

If you are active on social media, then you must already be familiar with various hashtag campaigns run by Oreo. The brand is known to come up with some of the most hilarious and well-known hashtag campaigns. Even though there are numerous hashtag campaigns from Oreo that we love, the #OreoHorrorStories campaign certainly stood out.

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Around Halloween, the brand started posting small Oreo-themed parody videos of famous horror scenes. It gained a lot of attention from its audience and resulted in an annual phenomenon. This funny Halloween hashtag is still being used by the brand and its audience, giving more power to its social media presence.

Honorable mentions

Besides the above-stated hashtag campaigns, there are plenty of brands that won us over with their smart marketing strategy. Here are some amazing campaigns that made quite a buzz on social media:

  • #WantAnR8 by Audi
  • #MyCalvins by Calvin Klein
  • #WeAccept by Airbnb
  • #MyBreak by KitKat
  • #RedCupContest by Starbucks
  • #PetsAtWork by Purina
  • #DontKillSeanBean by TNT
  • #LikeAGirl by Always
  • #BlackLivesMatter
  • #EarthHour by WWF
  • #MakeWhatsNext by Microsoft

How to proceed?

Now when you know about some of the best hashtags campaigns of the recent times, you can certainly learn a lot from these examples and come up with your own engaging campaign. Beforehand, you should know the evident mistakes one should avoid while running a hashtag campaign.

Needless to say, hashtags form the most important part of any marketing campaign. If your hashtag is too complicated or can’t convey its message, then you can’t run a successful campaign. Therefore, you can take the assistance of Hashtagify to get insights related to hashtags and influencers.

The tool is easy to use and provides a free encyclopedia with over 70 million hashtags. You can visit its interactive interface and dig hashtags in 38 global languages across different durations. This can help you tap the recent trends while running a productive hashtag campaign for sure.

 

Author Bio:
Along with social media marketing Pankaj is determined to shape his ideas into perfect products. CoFounder of Socialert – Twitter Analytics Tool For Keywords, he believes in coming up with engaging tools to redefine the face of social media marketing. You can check his blog here.

Hashtags As Labeled Rooms Where Communities Meet

Last time we spoke about hashtags as labeled sections on a bulletin board. This is a good analogy when you think about disseminating messages that you want to draw attention to. But the bulletin board analogy doesn’t reflect the “social” aspect of social networks.

As a matter of fact, hashtags aren’t just a fundamental tool to broadcast information to the right audience; they’re also a great tool to find and meet people who share your interests – both personal and professional ones. Among these people you can find those that can help you extend your influence through their own larger audiences, therefore further amplifying and endorsing your message.

To visualize this point of view, a much more fitting analogy are the rooms of a club.

Chatroom

It’s no coincidence that the inspiration for adding hashtags to Twitter came from chatrooms. When Twitter was small and users were few, having genuine conversations was much more prevalent than it is today. Chris Messina, the inventor of the hashtag, suggested to adopt this convention exactly to create “rooms” where you could discuss specific subjects even with people you didn’t know yet.

This helped creating many interest-based communities. Hashtags allowed you to discover like-minded people and then connect with them. People who had something interesting to share could easily build a following and meaningful relationships. With the gargantuan size of today’s Twitter – and that of the other major social networks – this is a much rarer event, but not all is lost!

Room Types: The Public Square

The biggest rooms – the most popular hashtags – don’t look like rooms at all. They rather resemble big and noisy squares with hordes of people incessantly coming and going, and all of them wanting attention!

Chatroomsquare

In these rooms/squares there is usually very little sense of community, if at all, and, if you asked who are the leaders/influencers, you would mostly come out with some out-of-reach celebrities that from time to time come to grace the onlookers with their hyper-amplified messages and maybe get a buzz going for a few hours.

For most marketers and communicators, finding meaningful connections in these places is really a hit-and-miss game – with much more misses than hits. Try your chance if you want, but our suggestion is to focus on much better playing fields.

Most viral hashtags, hashtags about current world events, and very general interest subjects generate Public Square “rooms”.

Room Types: The Specialty Room

Some subjects, like for example data visualization techniques or embroidery, have an inherently smaller audience. But also the subjects with the broadest appeal, like music or news, have more specialized sub-subjects of various niche levels; think classical music or Vatican City local news.

Chatroomspecialty

It is at this smaller – and especially niche – level that healthy online communities can still form around one or more specific hashtags, forming their own specialty rooms.

These thriving communities have their own unwritten rules, and, most often, some widely recognized reference points – their top influencers. Here you can also build your own significant, or at least useful, relationships.

This will usually require a healthy investment in time, resource and budget too, but if you find the right hashtags and communities, it will give you the highest long-term return. We’ll go into more details in future lessons, but the general process can be summarized in these steps:

  • Find some right-sized and well functioning communities in your field of interest, and their rooms/hashtags
  • Find their influencers, study them and learn the unwritten rules and conventions
  • Participate and add value to the community, without focusing too much on yourself and your message
  • Strike significant relationship, always keeping an eye on the top influencers that are within your reach, but without focusing only on them

Room Types: The Branded Room

Until now, we focused mostly on industry/interest hashtags, which usually come from the bottom up in a completely organic way. A different case is the campaign hashtag, purposefully created and steered by some organization or business. This brings us to the branded room.

Chatroombrand

The biggest difference between these rooms and the former ones is that here we have somebody who worked hard to invite people to their room and keep them engaged. And somebody who, if successful, is officially recognized by most members as the leader of the community. Somebody who also had a specific goal in mind for this community.

The situation that interests us now is when you’re not the one who built the room. So, is it possible to create meaningful relationships here? The short answer is: Yes, if the room still resembles the specialty room we talked about before, with a thriving community, and if your goals aren’t in direct conflict with the creators’ ones. The same process can still apply.

But what if your goals are conflicting with the creators’? Well, depending on the situation, you could either find other rooms… or you could try to hijack it. But that is another story and shall be told another time.

And before we finish, we’ll quickly mention two special cases of branded hashtags/rooms: the event hashtag, and the Twitter chat. For different reasons, these two cases are very relevant, and we’ll talk about these in the lesson about the hashtags lifecycles.

Conclusion

Congratulations! You have finished the introductory part of our Advanced Marketing course. We’re still writing the next lessons, which will be more practical how-tos about various common tasks for social media marketers.

But you don’t need to wait if you want to apply the concepts we explained. You can start from our Labs, which include guided tours and detailed guides to, among other things:

  • Automatically get hashtags suggestions from the “sweet spot”, in our Users Lab
  • Analyze a hashtag and find it’s top influencers to connect to in our Hashtags Lab

Hashtag Marketing: Hashtags as Bulletin Board Labeled Sections

From a marketer’s (or, in general, communicator’s) point of view, there are two main ways to looks at hashtags:

  • As labeled sections on a bulletin board
  • As labeled rooms where people meet

Board_with_without_labelsChatroom

It is very useful to keep in mind this distinction when dealing with hashtags; in this first lesson of the advanced course, we’ll focus on the first point of view and what this can teach us about choosing hashtags.

Bulletin Board Labeled Sections

As we explained in greater detail in the 101 course, the original use of hashtags is to highlight what the subject of a message is. This is very important in public places where everybody can send their messages – eg, on a public bulletin board in a University.

Board_with_without_labels

If you want your message to be found by people who would be interested in what you’re talking about and don’t already know you, where would you like to post your message? On the left side of the board, or the right one?

Not using a hashtag is just like pinning your message on the left side – on a board that has millions of new messages posted every day, so your own will get submerged in a matter of seconds.

And what about choosing exactly which hashtags to use? It’s pretty obvious that you should choose labels where your message will be relevant; that is necessary, but not sufficient on its own to maximise your reach. The size of the labeled section is also very important.

Board_too_full

Our Hashtags Encyclopedia on hashtagify.me gives a 0-100 popularity rating to each hashtag. In our analogy, the popularity is proportional to the size of the section of the bulletin board dedicated to the label/hashtag.

Too Popular

A very popular hashtag has lots of people looking at it, and a lot of dedicated real estate on the bulletin board – but it also has hundreds of thousands of messages posted to it every day.

In our bulletin board analogy, there is a board administrator – let’s call it Twitter Search – who is continually managing the messages on the board, pinning to the top for a longer time only the messages that are either a very important poster, or that immediately get a lot of acclaim from onlookers.

Board_with_engine

So, unless you’re some kind of celebrity, incredibly good at catching attention, or very lucky, posting to a very popular section/hashtag will mean that your message will be submerged after a few seconds or minutes. Almost as if you had posted the message under no label at all.

Not Popular Enough

At the other end of the spectrum, there are sections of our board that are so little known, that nobody ever looks at them. If you post there, your message could stay at or near the top for a very long time, but nobody will see it anyway. This is what happens 99% of the time when people create their own hashtags without giving them a valuable reason to search for it, and/or without promoting it enough – you’ll own your hashtag, but nobody is looking at that part of the board – it’s wasted space (and time).

The Sweet Spot

For most people, the sweet spot lies somewhere in the middle. You want hashtags that are:

  • Very relevant to your content
  • Popular enough that people are actively searching for them
  • Not too popular compared to your current clout – so that your messages have a chance to be seen

Subhashtags

At a practical level, this means that it usually pays off to search for many specialized hashtags in your field that have a popularity of at least 25/30 on hashtagify.me, and to alternate them in your tweets/instagrams etc. Depending on your personal clout and on how popular your field is in general, it can also make sense to use the more general hashtags for that field, especially if their popularity is below 80.

These rankings provide a guide, but to really optimize for your specific situation you should experiment and measure your results. We’ll see in a later lesson how using our pro Users Lab features can make both finding the specialized hashtags and measuring the results of your experiments much easier, but this is also something that you can do manually just using our free Encyclopedia and keeping count of the retweets and likes you get, if you have enough time to invest in this.

Conclusion

This first advanced hashtag marketing lesson laid down the first part basic concepts that guided us in building our Hashtagify tools. The next lesson will explain the second half – if you want to read it now free on hashtagify.me.

PS: Did you know that you can easily compare the popularity of different hashtags for the last 2 months? Check out our Hashtags Encyclopedia guide

Hashtags 101: Hashtags Are Free-For-All, But…

At least for now, on Twitter and the other major social platforms that support hashtags, anybody can use any hashtag they want, any way they want. You can even invent a hashtag on the spot, just by adding the hash/pound (#) symbol in front of any word, combination of words, or random sequence of characters and numbers – as long as the sequence doesn’t contain spaces or punctuation.

One important thing to know is that, when you search for a hashtag on Twitter, the search engine ignores character capitalization – #WORD is the same as #word. But for your readers, capitalization is very important: when you use hashtags made from more words, be sure to capitalise the first letter of each word. This will make the hashtag much easier to read, and will avoid possible misinterpretation.

hashtags

The Grassroots Origin of the Hashtag

When in 2007 Chris Messina first proposed to use hashtags on Twitter to show that a tweet belonged to a specific grouping, this started as a completely grassroots convention. Even if Twitter didn’t give any special status to hashtags until two years later, they still worked well for this goal, because only one thing was required: if you search for posts containing #Word, the search should only show you posts with #Word, and not those with “Word” without the hash.

This still remains the core of the hashtag: a convention to show that your post is specifically about #Something, instead of one where you just mentioned the word “something” in passing. And an easy way for anybody to find all the posts about #Something.

Breaking-search

When their use was already wide among early adopters, Twitter started adding some specific features to make it easier to use hashtags. First, it automatically highlighted all hashtags, and made them clickable to easily search all the tweets for that hashtag. Then, it started prominently showing a list of the top trending hashtags.

These two simple additions made hashtags evident for everybody, not only those in the know, and Twitter immediately became a much more useful platform for discovering interesting trends and topics. A few years later, all the other major social platforms added the same, or similar, features.

OK, you can. But should you?

Let’s sum it up: any combination of characters or numbers, without spaces or punctuation, that begins with the hash symbol, is a hashtag. You are free to use any hashtags you want in your posts, and, when you do so, that hashtag will become highlighted and clickable for the reader to easily find all the other tweets using that hashtag. Last, when people search for that hashtag, they could find your post. So, should you use any possible hashtag in your posts?

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As you might have already guessed (or read elsewhere), the answer is no. Why not? Because using random hashtags is considered spam, and has many more downsides than upsides.

First of all, if people search for #This, and find your tweet that talks about #That, but where you also hashtagged the word #This just to increase your findability, at best they will ignore you. At worst, they will mark you as a spammer, and if enough people do this your content will become penalised by Twitter and most other platforms.

Second, even your followers and other people who are actually interested in #That, and who could like your content, aren’t going to appreciate you using irrelevant hashtags – and even using too many relevant hashtags will irritate many people, who could stop following you just for this reason.

According to most research, the optimal number of relevant hashtags for a post with interesting content on Twitter is 2 or 3 (on Instagram you can actually use more). But how do you define “relevant”?

Hashtags Relevancy

How to actually choose the right hashtags will be the subject of entire future lessons. But the basic principle can be summed up in just three words: meet people’s expectations.

If a user searches for the hashtag #PhotoOfTheDay, what does she expect to find? In this case it’s pretty obvious: an interesting picture. So, if you’re posting a beautiful picture of your backyard taken today, this hashtag is highly relevant. This isn’t enough to say that you should use this hashtag to get the best results, but it’s enough to say that you can use it and not get any backlash.

Relevant

Many people think that a hashtag like #PhotoOfTheDay would also be great for a post sharing an article about cameras. After all, many people interested in photos are also interested in cameras… but when somebody searches for #PhotoOfTheDay, his expectation is definitely not to find articles about cameras.

That user could find your article interesting if he found it at the right time, but if you do not meet his expectations when he executes his search, you’re much more likely to get no reaction at all, or even a negative reaction. And always remember that your followers will judge your hashtags and your respect for readers. So, don’t fall into temptation, and when in doubt always try to think what would your expectation be if you searched for a given hashtag.

Conclusion

Congratulations! You have finished our Hashtags 101 course. The next lesson will be published next week for the Advanced Hashtags course, where we’re going to start delving deeper into the secrets of hashtag marketing.

But you can read it now, together with all the other Hashtag Marketing lessons, if you sign up free for hashtagify.me: just go here!

Hashtags 101: The Power Of Hashtag Marketing

Hashtags today are everywhere, from Twitter posts to billboard ads and TV commercials, but you shouldn’t use them just because everybody else does. To get great results, you need to understand hashtags, and how to use hashtags strategically.

The first step in creating any strategy is to know your goals, and that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about in this first installment of our Hashtags 101 course: the main goals that hashtags can help you achieve. We’ll talk about what hashtags are in the next lesson.

Increase Your Content’s Reach

The first and most obvious reason to use hashtags is to reach beyond your usual followers and gain penetration into broader digital communities. We’ll go into deeper details about how and why this works in the future, but for now we’ll focus on the kind of results you can expect to get if you start using hashtags well.

There have been many quantitative studies conducted by Twitter and others on this. They have all found that using hashtags in a tweet boosts the chances of it being retweeted, favorited, clicked on, or answered; the increase is consistently measured between +50% and +100%.

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These numbers are an average for all tweets with hashtags – including the tweets with bad hashtags. So, with a good strategy, you can expect even better results. And the effect isn’t limited to Twitter: using hashtags brings higher reshares on Instagram and Google Plus too.

The exception is Facebook: studies have shown that hashtags there have a detrimental effect on posts interaction . But if you want your content to reach more eyeballs on Twitter, Instagram or Google Plus, you need to invest some time in hashtags.

Gain high-quality followers

High-quality followers – those who engage with you and are therefore genuinely interested in what you share, and will also help you spread it even more – are hard to gain. You need to consistently publish interesting content, engage with other people, and add value to the community; hashtags help you do this by acting as a multiplier of your work.

Gainfollowers

This is a direct consequence of increasing your reach. Sharing great content isn’t enough, people need to see it before they can even think about sharing it or starting to follow you. Moreover, hashtags can also be used to learn what your followers are interested in.

Find and connect with relevant influencers and prospects

Hashtags can also be used to find and learn about influencers and your target audiences.

Connecting with already known influencers in your field is one of the fastest ways to increase your own influence. Using hashtags and the right tools, it’s easy enough to find not only who those influencers are, but also what they’re interested in, and specifically what you have in common. This can really help your engagements with them become much more meaningful and impactful.

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Depending on your field of market, the same techniques could also be useful to find and connect with potential customers.

Create a viral hashtag to multiply the power of your campaign

At the beginning of this lesson we cited the usage of hashtags on billboards and TV ads. This is the most visible use of hashtags, but it is actually a pretty specialised and limited one for most brands, as it depends on having lots of resources.

Indeed, creating and promoting your own hashtag is something that only makes sense in a few but important cases – when you have a campaign with a big budget, or when you can already rely on a high visibility or big fan base for your campaign.

In those cases, a custom hashtag can greatly multiply the power of your communication, especially if you can reach the nirvana of hashtag marketing – going viral. We’ll talk about these cases in the advanced course.

Conclusion

This was just an introduction to the world of hashtag marketing; there are also other goals that hashtags can help you reach, but those listed here are, in our experience, the most important and most common ones.

If you would like to achieve at least one of these goals, you have a very good reason to learn how to use hashtags at their best.

We’ll publish the next Hashtags 101 lesson on this blog next week. But you can read it now, together with the Advanced Hashtags lessons, if you sign up free for hashtagify.me: just go here!

More Inspiration, Better Hashtagification, Influence Amplification

Last time I interviewed Hashtagify Research Assistant, the man who isn’t intimidated by our 38 million hashtags and that will help you find and analyze new hashtags. Today’s interview is with our other new recruit Hashtagify Tutor, the girl who will help you actually use those hashtags, following a plan towards higher social media reach and success.

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Hashtagify Tutor

Dan: Good morning Tutor. Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Tutor: Good morning Dan! I’m a senior student at the Hashtagify University, I really love social media and I like to help other students when I have the time. So I’m known by everybody as The Tutor, and few believe me when I tell them that Tutor is actually my given name!

Wow, Tutor, have you sued your parents yet? Anyway, I know that you really love to help; that’s the main reason I decided to hire you. So, can you explain to our readers how exactly are you going to help them with their social media work?

As a tutor I noticed that the most difficult thing, for most social media practitioners who want to master the subject, is to stay motivated with their effort, and to be consistent with their messaging.

I also noticed that it really helps to have some kind of reference plan to follow, and somebody who keeps you inspired to follow it. And that’s where I come into play, at least for the part related to hashtags.

So, we’re talking about a plan related to hashtags? How would that work, and how can that help anybody to stay motivated and consistent?

Hashtags are useful to define an area of interest, and to reach the audience that is interested in that area. When you want to become an influencer in some field, it really helps to have a list of the most relevant hashtags in that field, and to use them consistently with your messages – which, obviously, need to be highly relevant and very interesting.

My role is to remind you when you have been neglecting a useful hashtag for some time, alert you when a new interesting hashtag is emerging, and to give you inspiration about what you could write or share.

Receiving inspiration is nice. But couldn’t you just write my tweets for me??

I could… but then you would never become a real influencer! You need to use your own judgement and personality even when just retweeting some good content. You absolutely need to add something personal to the social media conversation, otherwise people could think you’re just a bot. Who wants to engage with a bot?

Fair enough. Regarding inspiration, what’s your plan? How could you inspire me?

One of the best way to get inspired is to see great examples to follow. That’s why, when I will suggest you a hashtag you could use, I’ll also show you great relevant content that you can take inspiration from, or just retweet. Not just from Twitter, but also from Instagram – visuals can give even more inspiration.

I get it. Besides, it’s a good idea to retweet a lot – it shouldn’t be all about you. One last question: Do you think that you could also help expert hashtag users, or just beginners and intermediate?

I think that my tutoring will be most helpful to beginners and intermediates, but even the experts could use some inspiration from time to time. And for them, I can limit myself to sending a daily email with a quick reminder about the hashtags they haven’t used for some time, and, even more importantly, the new trending ones related to their field.

Well Tutor, thank you very much for your time, and see you next week on hashtagify.me!

Thanks Dan, and see you!

The Man Who Isn’t Intimidated By 38 Million Hashtags

When was the last time you had to search for some new hashtags? For example, because you wanted to reach a wider audience, or just to show you’re always in the know about the new trends in your field?

If you’re at all like me, that was not long ago. And again, if you’re at all like me, you feel that having to sift through the millions of hashtags people use these days is a pretty daunting task.

If this is the case, you’ll be glad to meet Hashtagify’s latest hire, the Research Assistant. I introduced him a week ago; you might remember that he boasts of knowing all the 38 million hashtags we classified at hashtagify.me, to be able to find many new targeted hashtags just by taking a look at your Twitter account, and that he’ll start working next week.

I thought you might want to know a bit more about him. He’s a reclusive guy, so, to give a better introduction, I went to his laboratory and interviewed him for you. This is the transcript of our talk.

Assistant

Dan: Hi Assistant. So, the rumors say that you know everything about more than 38 million hashtags. Is that true?

Assistant: Hi Dan. Well, to be honest with you, I don’t actually know everything about those 38 million hashtags. But I know a lot about them. And I’m always on the lookout for new ones to study. As a matter of fact, just during the last 10 minutes, I found 38 more. Right now, the exact number of hashtags I know about is 38,476,189.

OK, the quantity is impressive. But what about the quality? Are all those hashtags really good?

This is an interesting point. Actually, it turns out that lots of hashtags are too generic for any targeted message; others are too loved by spammers; others still were great a few months ago, but now they’re dead in the water. That’s just why I’m always learning new ways to classify and filter them, using information about the hashtag users, associations, languages, timing, and many other interesting signals. It’s no easy task, but they tell me I’m getting better and better at this.

Let’s talk about personalization. After you filter out the hashtags that may look popular, but aren’t really useful, how do you decide which ones are the most targeted for a specific Twitter user?

First of all, I study up to 3,200 of the last tweets that the user sent, and analyze the hashtags they use, the language, and some other technical stuff. I then try to understand if the user has different areas of interest to talk about, using a technique called clustering. For each cluster of hashtags, I then find the most interesting hashtags that the user has never used.

When you say “interesting hashtags”, what do you actually mean? And usually, how many interesting hashtags do you find for a user?

Hashtagify AssistantA hashtag can be interesting for many different reasons. For example, it could be a newly trending hashtag in a related field. It may have a popularity that isn’t very high, but is very targeted. I try to create a good mix and show the user around 200 options to choose from; the user can sort them by popularity, trend, and correlation, and also look at lots of details to better understand the hashtag if it looks interesting. Users can also discard hashtags that they know aren’t good for them; this really helps me to learn and be even more targeted in the future.

Great, I’m sure all our advanced users will like the possibility to start from an already sorted and filtered pool of candidates, and still be able to choose by themselves. But what about beginners? This still looks a bit difficult for them, couldn’t you make things even easier?

Come on Dan! You already know that I’m much better at helping users who already know their way around hashtags. Isn’t that the reason why you also hired Hashtagify Tutor? I just do the analysis; then, for those who don’t want to check lots of hashtags and meddle with all the finer details, he can take over and guide them step by step…

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Dan: Don’t worry, I remember perfectly well our deal. I just thought that this could be the perfect question to finish this interview, and link to our next one with Hashtagify Tutor. So, Assistant, thank you for your time, and I’ll leave you to your analyses now. Maybe, before the great launch next week, you’ll even learn some new tricks!

Assistant: Thank you Dan. You know that I’m a lab rat and I’m not much into interviews, but I really hope I could answer some of our readers’ curiosity about my work. And, while thanking them for staying with us until the end, I’d like to remind them that sharing is caring. And remember… I’m going to read all your tweets!