Twitter is one of the most popular social networks within the Millennial demographic. With Twitter’s presence becoming a huge influential marketing force, brands will need to make sure their messages can be told in 140 characters or less. How has this social media giant influenced every other social media platform? Easy – hashtags.
Almost every tweet sent on Twitter incorporates searchable hashtags. Although Twitter was the first media outlet to coin the hashtag in 2007, almost every other social media site has jumped on board. The hashtag allows users to organize content and track discussion topics based on keywords or phrases. Now, more than ever, they are also being used as a way to connect brands, advertising campaigns, and trending topics. Because of this, brands have to be quick to the punch to seize opportunities for engagement among Millennials.
So how can brands use hashtags to incorporate participation? By following the four simple rules below.
1. Don’t throw in a hashtag as an after thought
Unless the brand hashtag benefits the consumer in some way, it will probably not stick. The hashtag also needs to represent an integral part of the media strategy for engagement. For example, in 2010 Edge Shave Gel @EdgeShaveZone rewarded people who used their hashtag, #soirritating, by giving them items ranging from iPhones to computers in order to “solve irritation”. This encouraged use as there was a direct benefit to the user. Also, another reason for the effectiveness was due to the live monitoring of the hashtag and Edge’s engagement with those using the hashtag. This was a clearly thought-out plan around the hashtag and it scored big gaining 6,800 uses within 3 months.
2. Use humor
As we have seen, Millennials place high value on brands that tickle their funny bone. A hashtag gives Millennials an opportunity to be funny in a “muttered into a handkerchief” kind of way. Think of hashtags like #kidding or #fail. These hashtags usually follow sarcastic tweets and add more humor to the overall tone.
3. Play off of what Millennials are already doing
Whether Millennials admit it or not, one of the most popular places to check personal profiles is in the bathroom. According to a Nielson report, 32 percent of Millennials age 18-24 use social media while using the facilities. Charmin played up this Millennial trend by creating the hashtag #tweetfromtheseat.
4. Keep it simple
Remember, a tweet can only be 140 characters or less – including hashtags. In fact, the ideal length for a tweet is 100 characters and tweets with less than 100 characters get a 17% higher engagement rate according to a recent study conducted by Buddy Media, now Salesforce.com. The key is to not let the hashtag overpower the message in the tweet. A successful hashtag does not require an explanation and should be understandable right away. Using more than one hashtag in a tweet is OK but there should typically be no more than two hashtags per tweet.
Millennials have had an overwhelmingly positive response to hashtags. Some even argue that hashtags could be considered the new URL for the Millennial generation. In almost every advertisement today, the call to action is using a hashtag instead of a URL. The “#” is no longer just a pound sign, its taken on a whole new meaning and changed the way we communicate to #Millennials. Leah Swartz contributed to this post. Photo Credit: Flickr via Maria Elena, Theo, and James Mitchell & Taco Bell