It’s a simple enough question, and one that most of us have probably pondered as we’ve sat, pen poised, over a blank piece of paper entitled ‘Social media campaign’.
Should the hashtags you use already exist on the internet – say, #UX if you’re creating a campaign around user experience – or be totally new – for instance, #HNMarketingrocks? (Let’s get it trending!)
Something new, something borrowed…
The honest answer is that you want a mix of both, because each hashtag serves a slightly different purpose. Hashtags are what people use to search through content on social media. By using other people’s hashtags, your tweets stand a better chance of being seen by the masses.
At the same time, creating your own catchy campaign hashtags that your community are keen to share can help make your content stickier by generating interest as it spreads through your social communities.
Both of those functions are important for a campaign, so both need doing. In essence, the way it works is that hashtags borrowed from other sources will draw traffic to your social media profiles, where you can then share your custom hashtag with the world.
Once your community starts sharing your campaign hashtags, you can use them to monitor interest in your content. If your campaign hashtags are good enough, they should also start to generate interest in the content itself.
Less is more
Don’t go hashtag-crazy, though. Creating a variety of tweets, pins, or Facebook posts using different hashtags will ensure that your audience will see them all in due course. So, it’s best not to cram them all into every post (and don’t try to use hashtags on LinkedIn – they don’t work there).
It might take some practice, but, once you’ve got the hang of it, you will find that the right combination of original and borrowed hashtags gives your content’s reach a considerable boost.
One last thing
If you’re looking at the likes of Amnesty International’s #GayTurtle or Doritos’ #CrashTheSuperBowl campaigns and thinking, ‘my custom hashtag will never be successful’, then remember: your hashtag dosen’t need 80,000 shares.
Even the largest of B2B audiences is relatively small when compared with the kinds of audiences the aforementioned B2C companies are targeting. Your campaign hashtag doesn’t need to trend worldwide to be a success – it just needs to be trending amongst your audience.
So don’t be scared – get out there and start hashtagging!
Which kind of hashtags do you tend to use most? Leave us a comment and let us know.