It is every marketer’s dream to get their hashtag trending on Twitter.
Over the last few years, I have closely worked with various marketing gurus while participating in numerous events. There were times when I saw a hashtag started to trend on Twitter in less than 2 hours.
One of the recent examples was how #joshtalks started to trend in less than an hour before their website launch (26th Jan 2017).
How can marketers get their hashtag trending so easily?
How can you get your hashtag trend on Twitter before your competitors?
Today, I will let you know how you can also get your hashtag trending on Twitter without any hassle.
Try to tactfully follow these steps for your hashtag campaign or event, as it is a foolproof plan that is used by leading marketers these days.
#1 Come up with a relevant hashtag
Have you ever seen a gibberish hashtag getting trending?
No. Because people can’t relate to it, just like that!
McDonald’s launched two branded hashtag campaigns in 2012 at the same time for promoting the story behind the product supply chain to their stores.
The first hashtag was very specific: #meetthefarmers. The second hashtag was quite vague: #McDstories.
You might already know that #meetthefarmers worked great for McDonald’s, while #McDstories generated a bunch of negative tweets. They had to pull back #McDstories in less than 2 hours due to the overwhelming negative response from their audience.
— CapnMarrrrk (@capnmarrrrk) January 23, 2012
In order to propagate the overall reach of your hashtag, think of it at least 30-60 days before the commencement of your event or campaign.
Additionally, the hashtag should be relevant to your brand and must be meaningful. You can combine a few words together while creating a hashtag, but it should not be extremely long at the same time.
You can have a look at the snapshot of trending hashtags. As you can see that most of these hashtags are meaningful and propagating the message behind their campaign. Here are some tips about on to make a hashtag relevant.
- Less is more. Don’t try to include more than 20 characters in your hashtag. Users will have less space for their tweets if you have a lengthy hashtag. Just like #TrumpTvShows would be better than #TrumpTelevisionShows.
- Don’t club more than 2 keywords. It can confuse your audience. For instance, #uniteforamerica is more impactful than #uniteforamericancitizen.
- Hashtag should give the message behind your campaign clearly. It should be meaningful. As stated, #meetthefarmers is better than #McDstories.
#2. Understand the algorithm of twitter
You need to understand how Twitter’s algorithm works in order to get a hashtag trending. Take these expert suggestions in mind while running your next campaign.
Your hashtag should not have any foul language or abusive words. Twitter prefers topics that weren’t popular before. It can also be a topic that was popular before, but has become popular again within a new group of people.
Come up with something new or target a different audience even if you have an existing topic. Produce more than 500 tweets within the first hour stat trending your hashtag. Not just the number of tweets, the number of individuals who are tweeting also matters a lot.
The cumulative number takes a backseat when people from different locations and demographics are tweeting your hashtag (what Twitter calls a “widespread popularity”).
For instance, #cat, #music, #food, etc. are a few hashtags that are used by thousands of people every day (and thus, it usually never trends). Though, if a whole new audience starts using these hashtags, then they might start trending.
I always prefer to research before coming up with my hashtag. Needless to say, your hashtag should not be offensive. Some of the best hashtags that trended in 2016 were #earthhouruk, #blacklivesmatter, #shareyourears, etc.
#3 Start sharing hashtags before commencing the campaign
Twitter rarely makes a hashtag trending just out of the blue. It should already have a well-established impression on Twitter. Start sharing your content at least a month before the day you wish to get it trending. Include your hashtag in your tweets and tease your audience.
Start counting days – #TEDxGateway 2016 is coming your way!
Watch 20+ speakers from across the world, share… https://t.co/VPQPCIQLKn
— #TEDxGateway (@TEDxGateway) October 24, 2016
This is just the right time to utilize your followers and friends. Share your tweets with attendees and other individuals who would be enthusiastic about it.
Post your content a few times every single day and encourage others to retweet and share it as well to increase its reach. If needed, you can also DM a few people or tag them in your tweets as well. This is a crucial step and you should not run blindly while building your hashtag’s reputation.
You can also write a blog around your hashtag and tweet about it while including your hashtag, letting more people know about it.
For instance, see this tweet made by Pankaj Jeswani (Social Media Team Member) and how he utilized the opportunity to spread the word about #tedxgateway with an old speaker. He tagged quite a few people (including me) to spread the reach of the hashtag.
— Pankaj Jeswani (@pankajjeswani) November 18, 2016
#4 Identify and engage with influencers to get quick results
Over the past few years, I have managed some influencer marketing campaigns as well in order to retain customers. Later, I realized that influencers can be quite effective for hashtag marketing as well.
It is a common misconception that maintaining a healthy relationship with influencers is cumbersome. Influencers who already share a sustaining relationship would love to spread the word for you. You should try to be in touch with them by tweeting time to time.
Check this recent tweet by @smexaminer who hosts #SMMW every year. See how they have tapped existing influencer while talking about #SMMW17.
— SocialMedia Examiner (@SMExaminer) December 11, 2016
If you have healthy relationships with your influencers, then they would give you a shoutout as well. For instance, have a look at how Madalyn is tweeting about #SMMW17.
— Madalyn Sklar 🚀 (@MadalynSklar) December 22, 2016
Try to engage with influencers with whom you already have a good social relationship, knowing that they would be interested in your topic. Influencer engagement is a time taking process.
If you don’t already have a relationship with influencers, it’s time you start finding them and give value to their content, so that they become familiar with your brand as well. After getting in touch with them and maintaining a fulfilling relationship, they would certainly be helping you in the long haul.
— #JoshTalks (@JoshTalksIndia) December 17, 2016
You can also use Socialert to track key terms and hashtags that go well with your domain and extract active and highly influential individuals related to your industry. Communicate with them over Twitter by letting them know about your upcoming event or campaign.
Event speakers can also act as influencers. Your audience would be interested in getting in touch with them and it can be used to create a pre-event buzz. Feature them every now and then on Twitter.
#5 Build your audience every day
After all, you can’t get your hashtag trending without your audience.
Within a week or two after launching your hashtag, you may see some natural and organic conversations taking place. Be as responsive as you can. When it comes to social media – no one likes to wait.
Check this tweet by the #tedxgateway team during their pre-event hashtag promotion. They thanked every key individual who tweeted about them.
— #TEDxGateway (@TEDxGateway) November 17, 2016
Include your hashtag in your updates or replies and encourage your audience to do the same. Ideally, you can also introduce speakers and key participants as well. They can also tweet about the event to add value to your hashtag. For instance, you can see how smartly Manish (a social media guru from India) as introduced a speaker.
— Manish Pandey (@join2manish) June 30, 2016
You can also use polls, contests, giveaways, or post interesting tweets and questions to increase engagement every now and then. It can be similar to this poll, conducted by The Huffington Post.
At this stage, some paid promotion can also improve the overall reach of your hashtag drastically. Hire social media marketers or freelancers to tweet about your event with a great following. Give them a feasible target to increase the organic reach and impression of your hashtag. You can further use a hashtag tracking tool to measure your progress.
This is where most of the markets become stagnant. After attaining an abundant audience, come up with a way to attain an organic conversation to get your hashtag trending. This can’t be done without creating a buzz around your event.
#6 Host a TwitterChat with influencers and speakers
One of the simplest ways to create a pre-event buzz is by organizing a Twitter chat.
Come up with an engaging topic that would attract your audience.
I would suggest that you should invite experts as a guest on the chat (they can be the speakers as well). While chatting, you can be a moderator and help your audience to get in touch with experts.
Encourage your audience to ask questions and interact with your guests. Answers given by the expert would create natural and organic engagement while covering your hashtag. See how #joshtalks tried to do the same thing.
— #JoshTalks (@JoshTalksIndia) May 6, 2016
This way, you would be able to generate a natural interaction and organic tweets around the hashtag.
Check how #joshtalks has organized a tweetchat, featuring one of their speakers.
— #JoshTalks (@JoshTalksIndia) October 19, 2016
You can see that it was able to generate exceptional results with 107 tweets by 24 users. Check snapshot of hashtag analytics report for more details.
If you can generate a relative number of 100-200 with good impressions and reach, then you would be in a favorable situation to let Twitter know about your hashtag. If you get a greater number of tweets and users, you may get your hashtag trending even earlier at this point.
Don’t worry if it doesn’t trend as of now. You can use Socialert – hashtag tracking tool to analyze the impact of your tweetchat on your hashtag’s reach.
If you want to share something specific regarding your event hashtag or a keyword and want to track reach, impressions or influencer data in a sample report, why not try here.
If you don’t know much about hosting tweetchat, here are some suggestions:
- Plan all the questions in advance. You can also share these questions with your guests in an excel file.
- When you post questions, take the assistance of some graphics or visual aids and tag your active audience so they can react immediately.
- Schedule your tweetchat when most of your audience is online, you can check this by tweets timeline distribution in hashtag reports.
- Mention influencers and brands in some of the tweets, so that they can get traction and value by your audience.
- Keep your audience motivated. Also, help your guests and rectify doubts and queries.
- Use your email list to send information about your Twitter chat. It will help you to add more people in the chat.
I have been busy with Socialert, but sometimes I also enjoy participating in tweetchats. I have been a guest on one of the tweetchats #SEOtalk recently as well.
— Malhar Barai (@MalharBarai) November 7, 2016
If you have any questions about tweetchat, feel free to reach me.
You can also organize contests and giveaways around your hashtag when you are getting close to the event. Contests and giveaways are a great way to expand your reach while rewarding your audience. After all, everyone loves to participate in contests!
See how CeBIT encouraged its audience to use their hashtag by organizing a hashtag contest.
— CeBIT INDIA (@cebitindia) December 8, 2016
Twitter chats are not just for creating a pre-event buzz. Many times, I have seen a brand’s hashtag getting trending just on the basis of a chat itself.
What to do in the last 24-48 hours before the event
Lastly, with the commencement of your event, you need to push the envelope if you want your hashtag to be trending.
I tend to plan everything at least 48 hours before the commencement of any event and make my SMM team ready for it.
You can follow some of those best-kept marketing secrets as well:
- Whenever anyone asks you on Twitter about your event, encourage them to use your hashtag with it.
- Use other mediums like Facebook or LinkedIn wisely and try to perform cross-medium interaction to boost your hashtag’s performance on Twitter.
- Shoot an email marketing campaign to attendees and the audience about how they can use the hashtag to express anything (and they will get an immediate response if they use hashtag).
- Needless to say, this is the time when you can use your own connections and ask your followers to tweet about your event using the linked hashtag. Include everyone in your team and encourage them to spread the word.
- Keep a tap on influencers and other speakers, and keep interacting with them on Twitter.
- Hiring a bunch of social media freelancers is not a bad idea as well. They can help you to spread the word and manage queries.
What to do just 1-2 hours before the event
Now, if you are able to generate another 500 tweets in the initial 60-90 minutes, then the chances of getting your hashtag trending on Twitter increases exponentially.
What should you do to achieve the same?
- Ask everyone to post questions about the event using your hashtag, so that you can respond quickly.
- Using a social wall would definitely encourage your audience to tweet with your hashtag and get their content featured on the wall.
- If you have a dedicated SMM team, then you can utilize its resource or hire someone to handle a section of influencers and paid marketing a little.
- Keep tweeting live during the event. Try to upload visual content (photos and videos) of the event and tag various speakers and attendees to boost the overall engagement.
- The first two hours of any event are pretty crucial. Encourage your audience to tweet as much as they can. Try to be extremely responsive on Twitter and post a reply to every user in a prompt way.
- Keep an eye on the trending hashtags. If they are related to your domain, then you can always post a few tweets while including them with your hashtag as well.
- You can run a hashtag contest as well and set attractive prizes for the winner of the contest.
These snapshots can further explain how #tedxgateway got trended in the first 2 hours (not just in Mumbai, but also in other cities like Bangalore).
— Trendsmap Bengaluru (@TrendsBengaluru) December 4, 2016
Here, you can see details about another event.
— Rosh (@TekiRosh) November 26, 2016
I’m pretty sure that after following these suggestions, you can easily get your hashtag trending on Twitter as well.
It might be a little overwhelming in the beginning, but after taking a walkthrough of the process, it would be a piece of cake.
Now the ball is in your court. After gaining so much information, nothing can really stop you from getting your hashtag trending on Twitter. I know you may have a couple of questions. Feel Free to post them in the comment section below and I would love to answer them!