How to hashtag for Twitter success

A little research can help a whole lot when it comes to making hashtags work for your brand.

Imagine if, with the stroke of a key, you could land your brand in front of hundreds of people in your target audience.

I’m not talking about “Harry Potter” magic here (although I will gladly talk Harry with anyone who asks). I’m talking about hashtags. When it comes to Twitter, these characters are small but mighty, and can help your brand achieve its social media goals. Here’s how you go about it:

1. Participate in events. Research the types of events your target audience attends and incorporate those event hashtags into your social media editorial calendar. Does your brand target fitness enthusiasts? Find popular races and tweet tips or good luck messages with the event hashtag.

2. Engage with your target tweeters. Set up streams in your social media management dashboards to monitor hashtags relevant to your brand. Monitor regularly, and, if you see a tweet your brand could naturally respond to, do it. But don’t overdo it. Only respond when you can truly be helpful. For example, if you’re an air conditioning company, monitor “#humid.” If someone complains about the hot, #humid air disrupting their sleep, jump in and offer tips on best sleeping temperatures, followed by a solution (perhaps your services).

3. Raise awareness of events you host. Spread the word about your upcoming events by incorporating the city, state, or your target location as a hashtag in promotional tweets. Make sure to adjust the hashtag if the city’s has nickname is a common hashtag (e.g., #Cincinnati and #Cincy).

4. Know what’s trending with your key audience. In addition to Twitter’s trends section, try a tool such as Trendsmap to find out what’s trending near your brand’s target audience. If you’re targeting a California audience, search what’s trending in that state’s major cities and fit your brand into the conversation.

5. Get your chat on – strategically. Join Twitter chats in which your brand can thoughtfully contribute, share valuable knowledge, and offer insight. Doing so will increase exposure and, if the chat is chosen strategically, get your brand’s name in front of its target audience. Twitter chats are great for personal branding, too. Try a tool such as Tweet Reports to find upcoming chats.

Hashtags, while small, should be an important, part of your brand’s social media strategy. When used correctly, they can turn a few simple words into something powerful.

Are hashtags part of your social media plan? Share your tips and tricks below.

Stephanie Vermillion is a senior account executive at Wordsworth Communications, a public and media relations agency based in Cincinnati, Ohio. You can connect with her on LinkedIn or follower her on Twitter.

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