Hashtags: more than just an afterthought

Here’s a question for you: when you’re creating social media content to support an asset, when do you create the hashtags? All too often, we see people doing it once the asset’s been finalised, and the whole social media post becomes a sort of bolt-on to the piece itself.

In our experience, the best success comes when the hashtags are created at the very beginning of the creative process – often at the same time as you’re brainstorming the piece. At this point, everyone’s thoughts are (or should be) tuned to what the customer wants to hear – what messages will resonate with them, drive them, and inspire them to hear what you’ve got to say.

Contrast that with the end of the creative process, where thoughts are more likely turned towards getting the asset finished, and (depending on how long the asset has taken to create) people’s creativity may be ebbing.

When it comes to creating a hashtag – which needs to move your audience to engage with and share your content – which of those two environments would you rather be in?

The hashtag you choose to support an asset shouldn’t just be catchy; it has to relate to the same customer needs that are driving that asset’s creation. Think of it almost like a campaign driver; a word or phrase that evokes the emotion, or the attitude, you want the asset to foster in your audience. By planning your social activity at the same time as your asset creation, you’ll not only come up with a better hashtag – you might find yourself discovering a whole social campaign theme that you wouldn’t have thought of if you were just bashing off a few tweets or Facebook posts once the asset was finished.

How do you create hashtags for your assets? We’d love to know. Leave us a comment, or get in touch on Twitter and LinkedIn, to let us know.

B2B strategic marketing: 5 activities marketers need to do

Getting strategic with your marketing can be hard: where do you start and how do you demonstrate that what you’re doing is working? At HN, we’ve seen B2B strategic marketing at its best (and its worst), so here are the top five activities that we see strategic marketers doing.

5 marketing strategies

4 tips for creating killer email marketing campaigns

Email marketing is still a hugely important (not to mention effective) tool in the marketer’s arsenal. Whether you’ve got one email to send, or are managing a whole campaign, making sure that your content does the right job is essential to delivering results, and that all-important ROI. To that end, we’ve got four tips to help you ensure your email marketing campaign is ship-shape.

1: Start with the reader
We can’t stress this one enough. Why should the reader open your email? Why should they be interested in what you’re saying? Why should they do what you want them to? Asking yourself these questions at all stages will help keep your content focused on the customer, not your company, and increase its effectiveness.

2: Design your subject line for maximum impact
The subject line will be the first bit of your email the reader sees – so it has to hook them in and convince them to open your email. Again, ask yourself ‘why’ – why would they want to open your email? Bear in mind you’ve got roughly 50 characters to pull your reader in – less if your reader is on a mobile device – so your message needs to be concise and compelling.

3: Make your instructions clear
What do you want the reader to do after reading your email? Download a white paper, or give your sales team a call? Ask a colleague to read your email; if they don’t know what they should do after reading the email, then your reader certainly won’t. Bear in mind that you can use visual cues like buttons, callout boxes and colour to guide the reader to your call to action (CTA).

4: Match the CTA to the buyer’s journey
If your reader is only at the ‘awareness’ stage of their journey, chances are they won’t respond to an invitation to call you – but they may well watch a video that helps them see how they can solve whatever business issue they’re facing. Matching your CTA to where your reader is in their buyer’s journey will help increase open rates and click-through rates, and help you more accurately guide them towards your offering as they progress through the journey.

Do you have any other tips for creating an email campaign? Let us know in the comments section, or talk to us on Twitter and LinkedIn using the buttons below.

Social media in real time:Oreo leads by example

In my recent post about how to create an effective social media content strategy, I touched on how to determine posting frequency. What I didn’t talk about was what you can do once you’ve hit a good rhythm.

Real-time posting

Don’t miss chances to post in the moment to really grab your readers’ attention.

The social media team at Oreo did this oh so well during the power cut that halted the Super Bowl XLVII. By the time the lights came back on in New Orleans, Oreo had racked up over 10,000 RTs, thousands of Favourites and overwhelmingly positive replies — all with a single tweeted image.

The fact that the cost of an ad during Super Bowl XLVII is around $3.7 million makes this social media win all the sweeter.