ARE YOU FLUENT IN THE LANGUAGE OF HASHTAG
If you aren't a regular user of Twitter,
you may be confused as to why you're seeing more and more words prefaced
by the “#” symbol in your daily life. On the screen during your
favorite TV show, in advertisements of various types — the practice is
seemingly growing at an exponential level.
The “#” indicates a hashtag, something used by Twitter to organize
dialogue on the social networking site. With millions of 140-character
messages sent each day, hashtags are a way to group tweets based on
subject matter. Events are given a specific word, sports leagues
establish “official” hashtags for teams, and celebrities designate
themselves with the moniker of their choosing.
Last year, for example, a hashtag appeared for the first time during a Super Bowl ad.
Mississippi State's football teams placed a hashtag in its end zone
last month. Earlier this year the late Canadian politician Jack Layton
criticized a policy of the country's Prime Minister by saying “That's been a hashtag fail on this issue.” Hashtags are on the rise and they seem to be bridging the gap from offline to online.
So the question then becomes how can you make the most of this social media phenomenon in your advertising/marketing strategy?
Twitter users search via hashtags they hope will take them to a
desired piece of information. In the case of your bar/restaurant that
means key words that will help them figure out what's available in a
certain area and pick a place to visit.
So a hashtag like #restaurant is a good place to start. The name of
your city or the kind of cuisine in which you specialize can also be
useful, as well as anything unique to your location like #vegan or
#glutenfree. Try and think in terms of the umbrella subjects under which
you could be found.
You'll find it useful to regularly search those hashtags yourself, as
you may come across people trying to find restaurants just like yours:
Create search columns for yourself (most third-party Twitter apps
make them easy to use/edit) and whenever you log-in take a look at what
is being talked about in the hashtags related to your business.
Hashtags should be a part of how you tweet about big or regular
events that draw in customers: #wednesdaywings, #margaritamarch, etc. It
will help direct the conversation and provide an easier way for
customers to generate pre and post-event buzz among themselves.
Outside of Twitter, you should make sure to connect hashtags with
your promotional efforts whenever possible. The name of your bar is an
obvious choice, but you might also think about a signature drink, menu
item, even a unique part of your building' design. Basically anything
that people will immediately associate with your business.
Since the goal is to bring people together around a topic of your
choosing, the question is how best to draw them in. You're trying to
pull people from off of Twitter back onto Twitter.
The hashtag(s) should obviously be included on your website and
various social platforms. But try and think of other places to put it.
Newspaper and magazine ads? TV spots? Your cocktail napkins?
You'll also find that hashtags will be useful as monitoring tool. If
you make sure to include hashtags in all of your tweets, it can be a
easy way to go back later and look at old conversations.
Make sure to spend some time with hashtags and do some
experimentation. See what competitors you respect are doing take a look
at knowledgeable tweeters in other industries. In the process you'll
find your own niche and be able to build this component of your social
marketing efforts around your best asset – your personality. #goodluck
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