Tag Archive for Twitter

Hashtag Marketing on the Rise

Photo courtesy of DoubleGrande

Last week as I was organizing my Twitter account I decided to re-evaluate the search terms I was using to find interesting content. This led me to take a closer look at hashtags and their latest use by marketers for business purposes.

As many know, the use of the pound sign (#) is at the crux of the hashtag. Putting symbols in front of words for taxonomy purposes isn’t a new concept. The @ sign has been at the center of email universe for decades now. Not surprising, it’s also used to address someone on Twitter.

However, the Twitter hashtag is more than a simple way to categorize content, identify themes or track real-time conversations. They’re increasingly being used by companies to drive positive online conversation and build brand recognition and loyalty.

Hashtags Driving the Popularity of SocialTV
Television networks have been quick to leverage the power of the hashtag by displaying it in the bottom corner of the screen during a broadcast. Usually it’s the name of the program or TV show such as #Revenge, #TopChef or #PanAm. I noticed that LifeTime’s Project Runway gives each contestant their own hashtag for voting purposes, which is a fantastic idea and also provides more ways for fans to tweet about the show. Expect to see more creative uses of the hashtag by entertainment companies and TV networks in the near future.

Hashtags as Branding Vehicles for Companies
Many marketers are starting to use hashtags as branding vehicles for campaign awareness. A good example is Audi that recently promoted their new LED headlights with the hashtag #solongvampires. The unique hashtag was connected to a TV ad that showed the headlights destroying vampires because of their extreme brightness (part of the product message). The result was a memorable campaign with excellent integration between multiple mediums.

While hashtags can drive massive attention for a branded campaign, some companies are going even farther by using them organically to convey value proposition. Red Bull’s tagline, “It Gives You Wings,” has been parlayed into the #givesyouwings hashtag and is quite popular with consumers when discussing the brand on Twitter and referencing other activities synonymous with the tagline.

The Perils of Hashtag Hijacking
Just like any other communications tactic, careful consideration needs to be given to hashtags. Unfortunately, McDonald’s learned this the hard way when it decided to offer up stories on the healthy aspects of its food using the hashtag #mcdstories. Within hours of the first tweet, consumers hijacked the hashtag and posted negative stories damaging the McDonald’s brand. What started out as a solid communications platform for the burger chain quickly turned into a PR nightmare. (Read: When a Hashtag Becomes a Bashtag on Forbes)

Marketers need to think about how hashtags can be integrated into broader media campaigns without losing control of the narrative. This is especially important since hashtags are now moving beyond Twitter and into other media channels. We’ve only witnessed a glimpse of their true potential and the real opportunities that they can bring for brands and the marketers that use them.

Content Curators Playing a Larger Role Online

Photo courtesy of Rafeejewell

With the ever increasing amount of online information from social networks, the need for organizing it has never been greater. Look around and there’s no shortage of aggregation tools to help us filter out the important stuff. Services like Summify, Scoop.it, and News.me offer ways to identify, organize and share the most relevant content online. Another such tool is Paper.li, which scans the posts of your Twitter followers and automatically publishes the news from your network on a single webpage. Personally, I like the easy-to-read format since it resembles a newspaper with photos, bylines, etc. I use it to review content on a daily basis since it’s a lot more enjoyable than reviewing linear feeds in Hootsuite.

Recently, I came across a discussion thread on LinkedIn that slammed Paper.li claiming that the automated curation tool was nothing but an annoyance. The biggest complaint from folks was that it created “comment spam” on Twitter with its daily promos alerting followers that a new edition had been published. People are up in arms that those little promos only name the Twitter followers who retweeted the story and don’t credit authors of the stories themselves. Guys, sorry to break it to you but Paper.li is ahead of the curve on this one.

In this world of information overload, there’s now a new layer in the media ecosystem: the curator. If it wasn’t for that person who retweeted the story in the first place, you probably wouldn’t have seen it. So naming the retweeters in daily promos is the right course of action. Twitter is like a fire hose and Paper.li is selecting random tweets that would have otherwise been missed. Yes, they’re randomly chosen but I find a lot of value in them because they praise others for their contributions. It reminds me that they’re part of my network and I can appreciate their contributions that much more. I know when I’m named in someone’s newspaper it motivates me to continue sharing that type of content.

While I don’t believe that Paper.li is the perfect tool, it does provide a valuable service. The market for content curation is still in its infancy. New products are being launched every month thus giving the role of the content curator an even larger role in the online media world.

Dan Zarella Offers Tips for Maximizing Twitter

I recently listened to an insightful webinar featuring Dan Zarrella, Social Media Scientist at HubSpot. To my surprise, Marketing legend, Seth Godin was on the line to introduce Dan and informed us that he was the author of the most popular e-book in the world. I thought that was pretty impressive. Dan took the microphone and began his talk about the viral nature of online content and the behavior of sharing.

Dan’s area of study is memetics or memes as coined by Richard Dawkins. He talked about content being “contagious” and how that results in people wanting to share it. Overall, there are three drivers of viral success: 1) Exposure (the act of following and friending on social networks), 2) Attention (the consuming of content) and 3) Motivation (clicking/taking an action).

Dan put these concepts into context by using Twitter as the platform for his research. Based on his in-depth analysis, Dan offered some great tips for maximizing Twitter with greater success.

  • Sharing content on Twitter in the form of links drives more followers than engaging in conversation
  • Define yourself and tell people why they should listen to you (use terms like official, founder, speaker, and expert in your profile)
  • Self-reference doesn’t always attract new followers, don’t talk about yourself too much, instead focus on the subject
  • Negative content turns off people and it won’t be shared – they want positive content
  • Research shows that people with more followers on Twitter are less conversational because they tend to broadcast more
  • Friday, Sat and Sun are bad days to publish unless you want to bury your story
  • Use verbs in your tweets since are more powerful than adjectives and are more shareable
  • Asking readers to “Please RT” actually works – on average it will generate 4x more retweets

Dan did a great job and I urge you to view his Science of Social Media 2011 presentation and transcript for yourself.

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