Social media is one of the fastest growing internet phenomena, making it the ideal place to promote your business and its upcoming events. With millions of users worldwide logged into social media, the attraction of using it as a means of marketing is clear to see.
Twitter in particular lends itself to business usage, with the opportunity for short, snappy, searchable promotions. Many marketers have started to make use of Twitter's hashtag capabilities to promote a special offer, a new product or an upcoming event.
Hashtags have been in use on Twitter since 2009, and their usage has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, with whole communities built around the use of hashtags.
A hashtag is quite simply a word used to categorize the theme of a tweet, and the chosen word is preceded by the # sign. Hashtag can be made up of single words, such as #books or a combination of words and numbers, such as #CheapHolidays or #Election2013.
If you have an event that you want to promote, adding an appropriate, unique hashtag makes it easy for consumers to recognise and track that promotion as well as sharing it with their friends.
When choosing a hashtag, it is important to make it catchy, clear and as short as possible while still conveying your message. Twitter does not support the use of spaces, hyphens or dashes in hashtags, so make sure to capitalise all new words for clarity. If the title of your event is too long consider using initials to abbreviate it. Make sure that your hashtag is unique and not already in use in another context by typing it into Twitter's search box.
Once you have chosen a new hashtag, it is important to draw attention to it by using an additional, established hashtag on a similar theme in your initial tweets. So if you are promoting a speaker event, you could attach the additional hashtags #event or #speaker as well as the hashtag you have chosen to represent your individual event.
Your next task is to get your hashtag 'trending', which means encouraging enough other people to use it so that it makes an impact on the Twittersphere. Try initiating conversations with other tweeps, or asking them questions, and including your hashtag in that exchange.
Ask others who support you, or to whom your event may be relevant, to retweet your message with its hashtag. Twitter only has a 140 character limit, so if you are asking people to retweet your messages, make sure there is enough room for the retweet and that your hashtag will not be cut off if it is at the end of the tweet.
You can even schedule a Twitter chat linked with your hashtag, where you announce to your followers a special time slot in which they can ask any questions they have about the event on Twitter, using your hashtag as an indicator that their query is related to the event.
While your event is in progress, you can encourage attendees to tweet about the experience along with your chosen hashtag, so that their followers will become interested in your business too. When the event is over, you can still use the hashtag to promote further interest in your business generally. You can share pictures from the event along with the hashtag, or you can link to reviews and other important content related to the event.
You can check to see if your hashtag is starting to become popular by typing it into Twitter's search box. Remember one of the keys to successful marketing and promotion is consistency. Use your hashtag frequently and consistently, and engage socially with potential customers. Don't just tweet at them, tweet with them, and make them feel as much affiliation with your chosen hashtag as possible.
By Activate the agency