3 Steps to a Hashtag Campaign for your Small Business

by / Tuesday, 27 May 2014 / Published in Small Business Marketing

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A hashtag campaign is not only a cost effective marketing tool for small businesses, it’s also fun to manage and promote. Within three steps, you can create and promote a campaign, and depending on the results it yields, you can further fine tune it for use in the future. A hashtag has the potential to be extremely useful for tracking posts related to your business with potential in CRM and marketing research.

Step one: Plan your program and the hashtag to go with it. Hashtags are primarily useful for promoting short term deals and other limited time engagements of a similar nature, but they can also be helpful for getting feedback from customers, since they are an easy and fun way to index tweets that pertain to your business. The first step of your campaign is deciding how a hashtag has the potential to be useful for your business. If you want to create sales within a specified time then you should have a hashtag that gets that idea across. In the event that you are running a contest, then you may want to consider having hashtags denote contest entries, which can be an effective way of sorting submissions for photo or slogan contests. Lastly, if you are having your customers vote on a flavor, project or other business idea, then clearly outline the choices with different hashtags to avoid creating confusion around the options. These same techniques can be applied internally for employee contests as well, but in that case need to be managed lest the hashtag accidentally get hijacked by jokers outside of your company.

Step two: Spread the word about your promotion. You should make an effort to let people know about your hashtag in order for it to be effective, otherwise the time frame of your contest or promotion can come and go with a very underwhelming response. Social media can be great for this purpose, but aside from that, you can create printed materials and signage within and around your physical location. If the promotion is really important to you, you may want to cross promote using local media channels such as radio and tv space.

Step three: Track your results. Once you have launched your campaign, keep track of your results. If you are getting a lukewarm response to your campaign, then it could potentially benefit from an injection of excitement through retweeting or reposting of responses, additional coupons or savings or other twists on your original premise. Keep track of the ratio of responses to followers that you have, and consider using tools like hootsuite to better organize the responses you get. This technique is helpful because outside fo whatever primary goal you had for your business, the insights you get on how engaged your followers are with your campaign will help you fine tune and improve on your social strategy going forward.

Photo Credit to Beth Kanter on Flickr

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