Hashtag campaigns may appear easy to launch, but businesses of all sizes continue to make mistakes with their hashtag campaigns, which in turn makes those campaigns fizzle out and fail. Last year, I questioned whether using hashtags in real-world marketing was effective or not. Today’s post will focus on how to create an effective hashtag, since businesses are increasingly seeking clever and unique hashtags to use for their marketing campaigns.
In celebration of the new month of September, this week I joined an Instagram challenge run by a fellow online entrepreneur. The challenge is only a few days in and I am keeping up so far; however, when I looked at the hashtag on Instagram this morning to check out fellow challenge participants’ photos, I was disappointed to see that the hashtag was being used by many other users who were definitely NOT participating in the challenge.
(Let’s just say, there were some questionable photos!)
Here’s a social media situation you want to avoid for your business, no matter if you have a small business or a large one:
In June, I visited New York City with my boyfriend and co-founder, Ryan. We visited the Empire State Building (ESB) on June 19th and saw this sign (in the photo above) near the observatory entrance. Since Ryan is the visual expert between the two of us, he figured he had a chance to enter this contest and possibly win one of the grand prizes.
Fast forward to yesterday, August 3rd: I did some sleuthing of the hashtag, #ESBHeartOfNYC, to see who the other contestants were. It seemed like not many people were using the hashtag, so our chances of winning were even higher. However, I found it strange that across all of the Empire State Building’s social media channels, there was no mention of this hashtag or the contest. I posted on their Facebook Page and received the response in the photo above.
“Hi Helene — Please note we do not currently have a photo contest running. When we have any further information we will post it here and on our other social channels so stay tuned! In the meantime if you’d like to submit your photo for our Facebook Fan Photos Album please send it to us via private message. Thank you.”
Then why did they have that display up at the Empire State Building?
I started this week off making observations on how more organizations are utilizing hashtags in the offline world–or, as I would put it, pushing “hashtags in the wild”. How effective are these campaigns? Are people even using these hashtags, or is it only social media professionals taking note of the hashtags?