Recently, companies have started to utilize and apply Twitter hashtags in their traditional advertising, especially on television. Not surprisingly, I am probably not the only one that has some opinions on that issue.
First, we should start with the purpose of hashtags and what they are used for. Hashtags are basically a way for Twitter to categorize tweets along a certain topic or interest. Hashtags can have a variety of different uses for businesses that can include anything from event marketing to experiential marketing and beyond. However, it all boils down to one core function: connecting users with each other and around one central idea, opinion, or event.
Now, how are companies using this utility to their advantage? They are not.
I applaud the efforts of the companies that have adopted Twitter hashtags and implemented them into their marketing efforts; it is a monumental step forward and they are headed in the right direction, but they are simply misguided in their efforts.
As a company, you must first take into account all the factors of your existing marketing strategy and leverage each component’s strengths to benefit and amplify your brand. A hashtag cannot “live” and “thrive” in the Twitter-verse on its own, no matter how clever or relevant it might be. Just placing a #Hashtag at the end of your commercial is NOT effective. You are missing the call to action and therefore missing the opportunity to engage your audience.
What reason or purpose do I have to go online and use my time to talk about your brand? Unless your commercial was the most compelling or comical thing I have recently seen, I am not going on Twitter to use your hashtag, and even worse, I’ve already forgotten what your hashtag is because by now I’m immersed in the talking babies of E-trade or the newest Old Spice commercial.
Make sure your marketing efforts have a well-defined strategy. Create compelling content for your audience that creates context with them. Context creates relationships and relationships create loyalty. Guess who uses your hashtags, loyal customers and people that hate your brand. Which one do you want?
Contributed by Sean Slattery, Jump! Account & Marketing Coordinator
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