Wouldn’t it be great if our hashtag became a Twitter trending hashtag?
Why do certain Twitter hashtags trend and how can we make this work in our brand’s favor?
You, too, can create and, if done right, promote your hashtag to the point where it trends globally on Twitter. This is the case study of how I did so for one of my brands, my Social Tools Summit, the leading social media conference defining corporate social media best practices and the role of technology.
As you can imagine, hashtag marketing is a big affair now, with consumer brands and sports team promoting their hashtags and advertisers actually sponsoring hashtags on Twitter. It has been the dream of many a social media marketer to have the hashtag that is central to their brand trend on Twitter, and this is what fuels big brands to pay their way into virality. As co-founder of the Social Tools Summit, I have been responsible for the social media marketing of our events and have personally managed to get our event hashtag, #SocialTools16 (or #SocialTools15 for 2015 events) to trend at all of our events. Looking back at how I did it, I would break my advice to you down into the following seven areas:
Events Make for an Easier Twitter Trending Hashtag
Most brands miss the boat when they simply rename their brand by adding a # sign in front of their brand name. Trending hashtags result from a lot of people talking about the same thing at the same time, and this is why creating an event around a hashtag is the easiest way for it to trend. Be it a sporting event, a limited time flash sale, or a conference like the Social Tools Summit, hashtags trend when there is a lot of conversations happening around hashtags in a short amount of time. When I say short amount of time, I mean in the course of a few hours, if not just one hour or two. Longer events supported by mass audiences can continue to trend over days, but it becomes naturally more difficult and also has increased competition. For most businesses, aim to promote a hashtag to trend over the course of a day if not a few hours. Hopefully you now see why limited-time events naturally support a more effective Twitter trending hashtag.
Have Active Social Media Users Participate
I was brainwashed early on in my social media career that social media users that are customers are more valuable than non-active social media users that are customers because they will tend, all things being equal, to have a greater Customer Lifetime Value. These same customers, fans, or participants who are active on social media will naturally share your event with their network, especially if it is Instagrammable (see below).
This is why having an advocacy program, whether for your social media fans, active social media partners, or active in social media employees, will naturally help your hashtag trend so long as they are at the event or somehow participating. The Social Tools Summit is lucky in that the topic of our conference IS social media, so the participants and attendees happen to be active social media users themselves.
Influencer marketing is here to stay, and clearly deploying influencers can help give your hashtag extra trending power. You need to have at least one, if not more, influencers deployed at your event that will also participate in the online conversation and share your hashtag. I recommend that all events actually hire a live-tweeter to share all of the tidbits, but if you want to increase your chance of your hashtag trending, hire some influencers. Fortunately, we have had many speakers who themselves I would consider influencers, so these anchors have given great reach to our hashtag before the event even started.
Promote the Hashtag BEFORE and DURING the Event
If you want a hashtag to trend, you need to make it part of every image and tweet you send out before your event as well as showcase it during your event on all print and display materials. While some said it was distracting, we deployed a tweet wall at our recent Social Tools Summit in Boston that was front and center next to our panels and thus became part of the conversation. I actually moderated my session utilizing questions in realtime that appeared on the tweet wall. In such a way, the more you make hashtags – and the conversations containing them – central to your event, the greater chance that hashtag will trend.
Make the Scene Instagrammable
If you’re going to do a physical event, why not do it in a location that tends itself to be naturally photographed? This is one of the reasons that we chose the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco to host our last event and the panorama ballroom at the historic Omni Parker House in Boston to do the event before that. Even if you can’t have an event at such a photographable location, set up interesting scenery insider where people can take hashtag-infused selfies, or simply make a board that people can carry around for photos that has the hashtag printed on it for others to see.
Promote the Conversations
If your brand wants a chance to promote something to become a Twitter trending hashtag, promote your fans that are utilizing the hashtag in their conversations with a simple ReTweet or Repost. This is good for your relationship with the fans but also allows you to be promoting your hashtag without seeming self-promotional because it is coming from someone else. I don’t have the data, but naturally if the sponsor of the hashtag is listening and participating in the conversation, it makes those participating happy, which could encourage a more frequent use of the hashtag, thus aiding hashtag trending.
The Social Tools Summit is a physical event in a single location but is also livestreamed globally. This global aspect tends to help in aiding a hashtag trend globally because conversations are coming from a broader geographical area. Consider adding a livestreaming component to your event as well, whether it be gated like the Social Tools Summit, or utilize YouTube Hangouts on Air, Facebook Live, Periscope, or all three social networks! The more the merrier!
You don’t have to do all of the above if you want to generate a Twitter trending hashtag globally, but the more components you add the higher your chances. I’ll be using the same approach for #SocialTools16 at our San Jose event on October 26, so make sure you check it out to see if it is trending – and feel free to join the conversation!
Have you been successful in generating a Twitter trending hashtag?