How to Create an Epic Twitter Hashtag Campaign

Updated on February 21st, 2020.

With over 79% of marketers in 2014 using promoted tweets as part of their campaign, Twitter hashtag campaigns are no longer a novelty in the marketing world.

Twitter hashtag campaigns can help you reap enormous rewards when done right. 

But how can you run and optimize a winning Twitter hashtag campaign?

We’ll walk you through 4 simple steps to help you create amazing hashtag campaigns.

You’ll be able to learn:

  • How to research what’s working for your competitors on Twitter
  • How to select the right KPIs and goals for your Twitter campaigns
  • How to structure your Twitter hashtag campaign for maximum engagement
  • How to execute a flawless campaign and keep up with your audience

Let’s get started!

Jump Links:

1. Research How Your Brand & Competitors are Perceived on Twitter
2. Identify the Goals of Your Twitter Campaign
3. Create Your Twitter Hashtag Campaign and Strategy Around it
4. Execute, Monitor, and Respond

1. Research How Your Brand & Competitors are Perceived on Twitter

What is your brand’s current position in the Twittersphere? How influential are you on Twitter?

Who talks about your brand and in what context? When are your fans talking about you? What associated keywords are used to talk about your brand?

These are some of the important questions you need to answer before starting your Twitter campaign.

In this step, you want to do two things:

  1. Measure your current influence.

    This information will be crucial for your post-campaign analysis. Your ‘influence’ metric includes your current followers, and more in-depth metrics such as contributors, and sources.

    You can measure your real-time influence using Keyhole by searching for your  brand name or URL of your website. This will give you the following data: contributors, reach, impressions, top sites & content, influential users, location & demographics, top sources of tweet, and related hashtags/keywords.

  2. Make a list of keywords that your brand is mostly associated with.

    Knowing associated keywords will help you brainstorm the concepts, hashtags, and copies for your campaign. This information is also available on Keyhole in a form of word cloud.

This will help you gain a bigger perspective of the industry and guide you in crafting your own Twitter campaign.

You don’t want to run a campaign similar to what your competitor has done last week.

The research method is simple; Do what you did for your own brand.

Understand their current reach on twitter, read their copies, and monitor the influencers behind their brands.

Analyzing your competitor’s twitter strategy will reveal a lot about your own brand’s strategy.

Try it yourself here!

2. Identify the Goals of Your Twitter Campaign

This is a step you and your team must do before creating the actual campaign content and strategy.

It’s easy to get caught up with creativity and virality around the campaign that the actual business metrics and KPIs become unclear.

What is your brand aiming to get out of a Twitter hashtag campaign? Is it to promote awareness for a certain product? Increase your followers? Get people to download your new app? 

Metrics like followers, RTs, and mentions will inevitably increase with a successful campaign, but clearly defining your goals will be incredibly important in coming up with an effective content strategy.

Deciding which metrics to track can be tricky. 

Jenn Deering Davis from Kissmetrics gives some great suggestions for developing your KPIs:

If you want to measure awareness, use metrics like volume, reach, exposure, and amplification. How far is your message spreading?

In order to measure engagement, look for metrics around retweets, comments, replies, and participants. How many people are participating, how often are they participating, and in what forms are they participating?

To drive traffic to your website, track URL shares, clicks and conversions. Are people moving through social media to your external site and what do they do once they’re on your site?

Identify advocates and fans, track contributors and influence. Who is participating and what kind of impact do they have?

A great example of a Twitter hashtag campaign built around solid metrics is UN Gender’s #HeForShe.

The goal of the campaign was clear: To obtain pledges of gender equality from 100,000 males within a year. As part of their integrated marketing campaign UN Gender….

UN Gender Campaign
  • Made their call-to-action crystal clear. It was easy for audience to understand what the project was about, and how to participate

  • Streamlined #HeForShe content in all of their global accounts with Hootsuite

  • Obtained influential celebrity endorsement, such as Emma Watson, who strongly encouraged men to pledge for gender equality

  • #HeForShe team worked closely with UN Women affiliate offices around the world to report on real-time feedback from tweeters across the globe

The key learning from UN Women’s #HeForShe campaign is that they built their strategy from a well defined goal — to get 100,000 pledges from men, which they were able to obtain within the first week by the way.

3. Create Your Twitter Hashtag Campaign and Strategy Around it

This is the fun part. We went ahead and did the difficult work for you so you just have to follow along!

We evaluated 10 of the past three years’ most successful Twitter hashtag campaigns, such as UN Gender, Yellow Page, ZzzQuil, Lays, and Amex, and found that all of these twitter campaign had three of the four qualities we call FOAM:

  1. Fun — words says it all. It’s fun and entertaining. E.g.: Charmin toilet paper’s #TweetFromThesSeat asks people to share their voice while “doing their business,” which resulted in thousands of hilarious tweets — from the “seat”.

  2. Opinion-based — invites people to share their views/opinions/ideas on a particular issue. E.g.: General Electric’s #IwantToInvent asked people to submit ideas of their own inventions.

  3. Action — calls on audience to do something. E.g.: Mastercard’s #PricelessNewYear Twitter campaign asked audience to take a photo with their loved ones and tweet with their hashtag.

  4. Meaningful — gives audience a philanthropic motivation or a monetary reward. E.g.: Ensurance’s Superbowl Twitter hashtag campaign gave out $1.5 M to one Twitter user.
FOAM chart for Keyhole 4 Step Twitter Campaign Blog Post

When drafting your content, ensure that your twitter hashtag ties in with your brand in a witty, relatable way. It needs to be customized to your goals & your audience.

For instance, DiGiorno Pizza used #DiGiorNOYOUDIDNT to promote their pizza delivery service by targeting football fans. How? By crafting witty football smack verses and live- tweeting them during the football season.

Digi Pizza Twitter Campaign

Why did this work?

  1. Well-targeted demographics. Who else is a better target for a pizza brand than a group of adrenaline-packed football junkies?

  2. Witty & Product-focused. Not only were their tweets funny and related to football, but it also promoted their product.

  3. Relevant. They tweeted live and responded ASAP showing clear understanding of Twitter and it’s mechanisms.

There are thousands of different ways to execute a Twitter hashtag campaign, but the key is solid planning.

Open your excel files, round up your team members, and be ready to make checklists.

For instance, if your hashtag Twitter campaign is going to have a give-away, plan the logistics in as much detail as possible — What is the prize? How are we going to pick the winner? When are you going to end the contest? How soon will they receive their awards?

If you’re asking your audience to submit user-generated-content (such as a picture of them with your product), plan out your tweet schedules. You should use data you’ve collected during the research phase to optimize.

For instance, how often and during what time slots are you going to tweet? Who will you tweet at? What kind of keywords will you use? — you get the idea.

Also, if your brand has a budget for the Twitter hashtag campaign, make sure you explore all the products Twitter offers and allocate your budget accordingly.

Promotion of the campaign needs to be incorporated in your planning as well. Here are few ways to promote your Twitter hashtag campaigns:

  1. Cross promote across all your social media channels. In other words, streamline your campaign.

  2. Partner with relevant allies. This can include celebrities, spokesperson, influencers, employees, or even other companies that can benefit from your campaign.

  3. Use paid services offered by Twitter. You can read more in depth about Twitter’s business products here.

  4. Integrate your campaign with offline efforts such as events. This method is particularly useful if you’re geo-targeting your audience.

Planning a campaign will vary depending on your budget, industry, and scope. Learning from other companies’ success and failures is of paramount importance.

4. Execute, Monitor, and Respond

Now that you have your compelling copy, creatives, and a meticulous plan in your hands, it’s time to execute.

Make sure your entire team is aware of the strategy and plan for your Twitter hashtag campaign as it will be crucial to amplify as soon as it’s live. Remember, 92.4% of all retweets happen within the first hour it’s been tweeted.

If you’re new to scheduling your tweets or any other social media content, here is an amazing article by Buffer that can help you with content planning.

Few simple strategies to further promote your hashtags while the campaign is live:
1. Write a tweet in relation to a trending tweet that also ties in with your campaign hashtag

2. Tag (or @) your top influencers and ask them to participate in your campaign

3. RT or Mention any participants for amplification

4. Create blog posts that aggregate your favorite tweets and share them with your audience while mentioning the relevant participants

Twitter needs to be on-watch constantly during the entire duration of your twitter campaign. Make sure your hashtag is monitored real-time using tools like Keyhole. 

How is your campaign doing in comparison to your original goals?

If it’s not doing as well as you’ve expected, perhaps an pivot in strategy is necessary.

While monitoring, your designated twitter-warrior needs to respond to most if not all of the audiences participating in your campaign for amplification. Remember,

70% of surveyed Twitter users expect a response from brands they reach out to on Twitter. Of those users, 53% want that response in under an hour.

Here is a fun infographic that can help you optimize your Twitter response.

Twitter Response Guide Infographic

Now go on and get started with your next viral Twitter hashtag campaign! Comment below and share your own Twitter hashtag campaign tips or ask away any questions you have.

Keyhole is a real-time conversation tracker that provides keyword and hashtag analytics for Twitter and Instagram. Get started for free and search your brand.

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