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7 tips for using Twitter hashtag effectively

A hashtag (#) provides context for a tweet, helping summarize things within the 140 character limitation of Twitter whilst also being a great route of making things searchable. Taking this forward, brands and users use hashtags to leverage a new product launch, an event or a discussion. The fastest route of getting the word out there through the hashtags is by running a contest or a live conversation for a consistent period which ensures heavy usage of the hashtag. 

Here are few tips a brand must keep in mind when creating a hashtag.

Here are few tips a brand must keep in mind when creating a hashtag.

1. Keep It Simple. Don’t make a hashtag into a sentence. Work towards delivering your core message& end it there. 2 words are ideal. 3 words are bearable. 4 words are forced. 5 words make a sentence.

2. Don’t Reuse a Campaign Hashtag. Avoid using a hashtag that has been used by another brand or individual or even by you before unless it’s a recurring activity that you are promoting. It doesn’t go down well with the tweeps and definitely not with your brand manager either. 

3. Get Creative. Twitter is all about being witty, slapstick and voicing your opinion on a current affair. Tap on any one of these when creating your hashtag, or all if you can manage that! Some examples of witty hashtags with relevance to the brand promotion are  #FoodILove(AXN India), #ChillOutSurprise (Lipton Ice Tea), and #WhatWomenWant (@KiehlsIndia). When it comes to having tapped on current news and affairs, I’m still to see something as brilliant as #ChappalMaaro, done on the day of the Municipal Elections in Mumbai to announce The Bombay Stores collection of flip flops. Witty, Slapstick and focused towards opinions.

4. Balance out Brand Integration. Hashtags serve the purpose of letting people know about a new launch, an event or even just the brands presence on twitter. Evaluate your objective and create campaigns accordingly. When pushing in a brand-lead hashtag, know how to promote it and the challenges beforehand. You may even want to consider a bigger gratification in this case. #QuikrThan ( and #18ThingsIWant ( for ChetanBhagats What Young India Wants book launch) are a few who managed to draw a great balance. There are hashtags that have gone the wrong way and have known to destroy brands so always evaluate the pros and cons by gaining insights on your consumer and the way your brand is perceived.

5. Know your audience. There are people who participate in each and every contest and there are people who interact on the basis of the brand being a match with their interest levels. It’s important you look at the right people for your brand as well as people who constantly talk to your brand due to a positive experience. You will achieve this if your Community Manager is active on twitter or if he knows how to gain constant insights.

6. Hold the power to make it viral. Creating a hashtag that a person can tweet with just once or twice will not make it viral. Hashtags like #WhatWomenWant let people tweet endlessly. Similarly, #18ThingsIWant gave people a number towards tweeting continuously. Run it by your colleagues and let everyone come up with a few samples. If everyone can crack it, it’ll fly well across twitter too. Another viral technique is to add Influencers to your activity for an additional boost. #FeelingBlue (Reliance 3G), #CointreauversialRumors (Cointreau India) were some very successful Influencer-lead campaigns on twitter.

7. Avoid an opportunity to be bashed. Tweeps love to attack brands and people across the space so be careful when you launch a hashtag by ensuring it doesn’t have a negative repercussion. If your brand is into customer care, don’t run campaigns or hashtags that ask for feedback or if you are undergoing a crisis on a particular day, avoid running a fun campaign on the same day.
Remember that the success of the hashtag goes a long way in determining the popularity of your brand and it’s recall, online and offline. Work towards making your campaign a best practice rather than just another twitter contest. Trending on twitter is easy. Being remembered is not.

Note: The views expressed here are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of afaqs! Campus



Zafar Rais

Zafar has an experience of over 10 years in Marketing, Branding, Business Development, Operations, Research & Product Innovation. Through his entrepreneurial venture MindShift Interactive he promises to deliver Insightful Digital Outreach for businesses .He has worked on successful campaigns for brands like Reliance, Homeshop18, The Bombay Store, Star Plus (Survivor India show), L’Oreal, Grazia, Cointreau, Sula Wines, and BIG CBS Network etc.