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#WhoCares About Hashtags Anyway?

By Sander Biehn | Oct 9, 2015

@SanderBiehn

The marketing team was resting on laurels. Over the past year they had successfully launched a B2B brand presence on social media and had grown Twitter followers to over 10,000. They had beat the competition to the punch, but was it making a difference? The CMO didn’t think so:

  1. Engagements were flat or down since the initial months after launch
  2. New followers were increasingly irrelevant and not targeted buyers, partners or media
  3. Conversations were not happening online as expected–promoted tweets generated little in the way of ROI.

Being heard or even finding the right people to converse with is increasingly difficult on Twitter. Writing tweets no one will ever read is a sisyphustic task. While search tools lead you to believe that they can find you the right following, there is one simple yet crucial tool being overlooked: The hashtag.

Part of the native twitter suite, the hashtag has been much maligned. Its importance shouldn’t be underestimated.

  1. Buyers search with hashtags. Forget your ego. Even if legitimate buyers follow you, it is unlikely they are hanging on your every word. Twitter is too busy for that. The most reasonable way to find anything on Twitter is via hashtags pulled into a Hootsuite stream (or similar tool). If you are not tweeting using hashtags your buyers are searching, you are missing the conversation.
  2. Hashtags define relevance. Business buyers are looking for shortcuts to find content and the relevant companies that provide solutions they may want to purchase. If you are not at the top of that list of the hashtags they search your products may be overlooked. Tools like Buzzsumo measure social relevance with respect to a hashtag or industry by determining the most popular tweets and posts based on shares and likes. These shares and likes do not happen by accident. They are a function of getting the content in front of an audience that wants to consume it. In short, relevant communities in Twitter gather around hashtags. Very few people have the ability to become relevant to everyone on Twitter, but the opportunity to become the most relevant person around a hashtag like #DataSecurity is ripe for the picking. What’s the method of entry?  The hashtag
  3. Finding your hashtags. There are many simple ways to find the relevant hashtags for your industry. The first is to look at what your customers are tweeting about and use the hashtags in their tweets. Alternatively, you can look at media sources around your industry or even your competition. If all else fails, look for articles that speak to you by dropping industry terms into the search box on twitter. You can spend hours looking at articles, but try to figure out which hashtags have the most good content and conversation. For Thought Horizon, we love the hashtag “Socialselling”, but it is full of businesses selling social media solutions—our competition. We now prefer to use #smm (Social Media Marketing) combined with #digital. This is where our CMO target buyer hang out.

Start experimenting with hashtags to enliven your Twitter social presence. So few brands are doing an adequate job in this arena that you are almost sure to find success. Decide on a hashtag you want to own and make sure it is a place frequented by your target buyer.