The six steps to choosing and making your next campaign hashtag one that’s memorable and utilized to track your best content and engagement.
But first, let’s review what a hashtag is and why we use them. Back just a few short years ago, 10 to be exact, the # symbol was a pound sign or number sign, but today it’s taken on an entirely new meaning: Say hello to the hashtag — born on Twitter, the social media channel known for it’s quick 140 character messages and tagging phrases using the hashtag to make conversations searchable — it’s how you found people you related to on the social network.
1. Quick and to the Point
Does your hashtag tell people what your campaign is about and it’s goals? Is it short enough to not take up too many characters within the character strains on social media (Reminder: Twitter: 140 characters only, but really if you add a link and/or photo we’re limited to a staggering 116 characters) Is it one that your side of the campaign will remember to use and continue to use — is it timeless?
2. Cross Check
Use twitter.com/search to see if another campaign or group is utilizing that hashtag and at what point were they using it — I’d say if it’s been a few months since anyone has used it, it’s safe to use, just make sure it’s not linking to anything (events or brands) inappropriate that could ultimately put all the work you’re doing to ramp up your organization’s or brand’s reputation in jeopardy. Pro Tip: Check Instagram too for your desired hashtag.
3.PUT IT ON EVERYTHING
This is extremely important and one that I see not utilized enough! The hashtag always seems to be the afterthought when it needs to be thought of and implemented earlier in the planning process. Bridge the digital with the “in real life” efforts. Put it on flyers, business cards, posters, advertisements and when taking action in public domains make sure it’s front and center!
For those of you in the social justice sphere, if you’re rallying in front of the White House or holding up traffic in a busy intersection and no one knows WHY you’re there…you’re wasting your time. What could help educate the public quickly is to have clear signage that displays your campaign’s hashtag allowing the curious minds (or those not too swift on the idea of your rally/action/cause slowing down their commute) know how to not just search your efforts but also tag them in their social updates. This will help manage the buzz (and keep it measurable) as well as perhaps opportunity for earned media. Again, bridging online with offline…more on that in a second.
4. Spread the Word
The best way to do this is not only start implementing number 3 like crazed hashtagging maniac (caution speaking in hashtags may so be a thing!), but to also pick a social day of action and send out a social media kit for your allies, colleagues, maybe even clients with different samples of messages and images for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram that include the hashtag, also writing a reminder to use the hashtag when they’re out and about assisting in getting your organization and brand seen.
5. Bridging IRL and Digital
The hashtag is something that can bridge the gap between what happens in real life on the ground during events, conferences, networking events and rallies to what’s happening in the digital space. Before social media and the creation of the hashtag we couldn’t really see how large a campaign like #Fightfor15 really was until those hashtags were utilized and became common space. But if you don’t do your due diligence to have your hashtag highly visible are you really being heard as far and wide as possible? (hint: No.)
6. Make it Consistent
Sure there are skits from Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake that hashtag everything. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about stop reading and watch it here, really.) But in reality, you have to stick with a consistent hashtag out the gate, so make it a good one: short, catchy and clear in message.
Get your colleagues together and brainstorm your next campaign and have fun with it! If you’re stuck and need some extra brain juice message me!