Today’s topic is Twitter and the act of “hashtag planting.” I know what it is because I invented it according to www.urbandictionary.com.
Before we examine the act of hashtag planting and how you can use it to increase the exposure of particular tweets to a targeted audience, let’s first look at hashtags in general.
What is a hashtag?
Using a hashtag on twitter is a way for you to insert a keyword into your tweet.
Why use a hashtag?
Your hashtag keyword can be singled-out and followed or searched for via the Twitter “Search” function. You can follow a topic this way, or even insert yourself into a popular topic (for marketing purposes), which is what I call “hashtag planting.”
When you log into Twitter, you will see a menu on the lower left called “Trends”. These trends reflect much-used hashtags associated with the day for the location you’ve selected. Being a Long Beach girl originally, my list shows Long Beach trends.
Today’s popular hashtags for the Long Beach, California area are:
Some hashtags are to associate tweets with a particular brand or celebrity (#Gap). Some are simply fun social experiments (#WhenIGetMarried), or set up to convey sarcasm (#whyiseveryonesostupid or #TeamSingle).
Hashtag Planting: Putting hashtags to work
Here are some tips you can follow to make hashtags work for you on Twitter:
- Compose your tweet and then go back and hashtag terms within the body of your tweet that are already popular or trending terms, and terms that are specific to your exact area/location.
- Good example: We r having a
#MemorialDay BBQ today at our #CoastlineCommunityCollege campus in #FountainValley. Get a free lunch and tour our Vets Center.
- Tweet is specific to a current and trending topic (#MemorialDay), a specific place (#CoastlineCommunityCollege), in a specific City (#FountainValley).
- Bad example: The
#college is having a Memorial Day #BBQ today at our #Coastline campus in Fountain Valley. Get a free lunch and tour our Vets Center.
- Tweet is not specific enough to the area and doesn’t take advantage of trending topics. #Coastline is too general and a search will pull up information about the ocean, sea, other businesses named Coastline, etc.
- Good example: We r having a
- Plant hashtags into your tweet to associate yourself with an already popular topic your desired target audience is following. For example, our college was hosting a video game seminar just one week after the popular Comic Con convention in nearby San Diego. The established, and already popular, hashtags for Comic Con were #comiccon and also #sdcc (for San Diego Comic Con), and thousands of “nerds” (our exact target market for this event) were getting real-time Comic Con news by following those hashtags. What better way to reach my target audience than to plant #comiccon and #sdcc into ALL of my own event tweets, even if my particular event wasn’t associated with #comiccon or #sdcc? This worked so well for reaching our exact target audience, our event was sold out almost immediately.
- Follow, and use, trending hashtags. This is a type of hashtag planting, but usually to an untargeted audience. Still, it can garner you some good exposure due to the popularity of the trending hashtags of the day and shows that you are cool enough to actually pay attention to trending hashtags. For today, one of the trending hashtags is #tweatyourweakness. When I pulled up the feed for this, I came across this comical post:
Since I work for a college, I couldn’t resist replying to this tweet with
@_Snape_ “ #TweatYourWeakness is trending. Obviously, Twitter’s weakness is spelling.” We have a class for that. http://www.coastline.edu/schedule .
So I’m curious, do you use hashtags in your tweets? If so, are they random, or is your use strategic? I’d be happy to hear about other ways to strategically use hashtags and if there’s such thing as hashtag analytics. Leave a comment below or contact me with your thoughts.