The following post is from Meghan Veroneau, TIG Global Marketing Coordinator.
Have you ever thought about forking over the dough for a promoted hashtag campaign? Or just creating a hashtag campaign through word-of-mouth? Whatever your answer might be to the previous questions, you should take a minute and read over this three part series.
· Part 1. Launched hashtag campaigns will be discussed highlighting whether they worked or not.
· Part 2. Discusses how to prepare for a promoted campaign.
· Part 3. Focuses on how to handle the campaign once you’ve launched and what results you should expect.
In the second part of this series, we are going to go over creating your promoted hashtag, the research involved, and your brand status in the eyes of the consumer.
Creating your hashtag.
In creating your hashtag, you’ll need to start with the basics. What are your first thoughts of what you want it to be? What purpose do you wish it to serve overall? Is the hashtag you’ve created going to be misconstrued in any way or draw sarcasm and poor publicity to your brand? Or is it going to be a phrase that people can use for a broader scale of subjects, yet can still easily be attributed it to your brand?
You want to think about your responses to the above questions when designing your hashtag. Also keep in mind key guidelines when creating hashtags. Remember; don’t make it a super long run-on word that is hard to read and clumsy to type out. A short and simple hashtag is the answer; which you probably noticed from the campaigns previewed in part 1.
Don’t forget, you want to be able to use the hashtag to guide the responses you want indirectly. Your hashtag should contain a subtly suggested direction to followers, so that it encourages interaction, but has little opportunity to go astray. This goes back to wanting to engage brand followers to the fullest extent, but in a carefully controlled manor to protect your brand from damage.
Do your research.
Seems simple enough right? You’d be surprised how many people skip this essential step.
First and foremost, make sure another brand isn’t using the same hashtag. You don’t want to compete with them, and replies will all be jumbled in one place making it difficult for you to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign. As mentioned in part 1, McDonalds ended up using the same hashtag as DoubleTree by Hilton with #LittleThings, therefore competing for the attention generated by this particular hashtag.
Additionally, you should assess whether or not the hashtag is already currently a popular one used by thousands of people, or do just a few random people use the hashtag? And what sorts of tweets are associated with your chosen hashtag if it is already popular. You’re going to be much safer if you choose a hashtag that isn’t popular and that people aren’t using or are using minimally to avoid confusion and risk your brand’s reputation inadvertently.
Ask yourself, what is the connotation on the hashtag currently, is it positive or negative? Normally you wouldn’t want to promote the hashtag #WTF, like Wheat Thins did, because people typically use the hashtag to vent about things that are going poorly. This was one example that worked out for the brand, but this is typically a highly risky gamble.
Think about how your brand is seen in the eyes of the consumer. Do they doubt your current stability? Or are they fully supportive of your decisions?
From the examples given in part 1, consumers doubt RIM’s current stability, which explains the hashtag hijacking and subsequent negative media attention generated from their recent failed campaign. For McDonalds, while it is a strong brand and not going anywhere anytime soon, there is a lot of controversy around the fast food industry right now. It’s best to keep your company out of harm’s way and think through the possible backlash that could occur, and use that knowledge to steer your campaigns away from disaster from the get go.
You have to remember that in using a promoted hashtag campaign, it should require just as much marketing attention as any other marketing campaign you attempt to do. You should prepare for this, just as you would any other. Don’t leave anything out and have a solid back-up plan for monitoring and quick response should things go awry!
At this point you should feel confident in preparing for the campaign. Next up, you’ve got your campaign prepared, and are ready to run it. But how do you handle the campaign once you’ve launched? And what should you realistically expect from the campaign? Stay tuned for part 3 of this series where I will dive deeper into the questions above.
Interested in ramping up your online strategy? Check out the full suite of TIG Global interactive marketing tools, send us an email, or give us a call +1 301.841.4700(US) | +44 (0)20 3004 9468(UK).