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#ExpectResults: How to Turn Hashtags into Engagement


The hashtag, or the pound sign on any phone, has become popular in social media for bringing people together around a common message, or trend. Today, we use hashtags like ammunition to ignite a movement to bring thousands together. This is exactly the case of a recent controversy between The View’s Joy Behar and thousands of nurses around the country on Twitter, who are using hashtags to react.

The rise in the use of hashtags has helped transform the way social media conversations happen.

Hashtags, words or phrases preceded with the pound sign, are used on social media to connect comments on a specific topic and spark conversation. They are your organization’s opportunity to spread brand awareness and draw attention to a trend or idea. The goal of an effective hashtag is to get your marketing concept trending online and engage the online community.

Instances of hashtags that exploded recently are #NursesShareYourStethoscope and #ThisIsNotACostume. These hashtags went viral after The View co-host, Joy Behar made controversial comments about Miss Colorado Kelley Johnson, the Miss America contestant who wore scrubs and delivered a monologue about being a nurse during the talent portion of the pageant.

These hashtags were successful because they connected the tremendous outrage from tens of thousands of people who were offended by Behar’s comments about nurses wearing a doctor’s stethoscope. The American Nurses Association quickly crafted a statement and social media campaign to show that nurses wear their own stethoscopes and created the #NursesShareYourStethoscope and #ThisIsNotACostume hashtags.

Yet the fun doesn’t stop there. #NursesShareYourStethoscope also serves as a call to action. Using this moniker, nurses from across the country posted and shared pictures in their scrubs while responding to the co-host’s comments.

Organizations should strive to create hashtags that will get people that invested in posting, responding and sharing its content. Creative hashtags like #NursesShareYourStethoscope are helpful in getting your brand and message out there, while getting people interested in the conversation.

Crafting the Right Hashtag:

Here are some tips when creating your own successful hashtags:

Make Them Short and Sweet

Hashtags should be simple so anyone can remember and use it. Be mindful that a hashtag that is too long will not give Twitter users enough space to respond with a 140-character limit.

Think Outside the Box

Selecting a unique hashtag should be an easy task. Try to avoid selecting a hashtag that is widely used by other organizations unless it is trending within your industry or scope of reach. If multiple organizations are already using your hashtag, it may be hard to witness the success of your campaign.

Spark up a Conversation

Select a hashtag that will engage and start conversation about your message.

Testing the hashtag:

There are many online templates that will help estimate the success of your hashtag. For example, Hashtagifyme.com lets a user input a hashtag they’d like to use and it tell you how that hashtag was used and the success of it.

Success can be calculated through whether or not the hashtag was trending, or a popular conversation for people online. Trending hashtags are important to watch out for, especially, if you want to see if yours made the cut. By checking Twitter under the trending topics’ section, you are able to see what many are talking about and what they’re saying.

To maximize the success of your brand’s hashtag be clear and concise, get creative, and make people eager to respond.