Social networks have become an integral part of marketers’ lives today. While step 1 for new marketers is to engage easily-visible consumers periodically, here is a look seven different ways that sophisticated marketers use hashtag research and analytics to gain intelligence from social media.
1. They Use Hashtags to Monitor Brand-related Conversations
Thanks to hashtag research tools, marketers are able to monitor conversations centered on their brand, product, or service. Once a marketer has set up a hashtag tracker for their product, it becomes very easy to monitor what is being said about the brand, and by whom.
Smart marketers are not only using this to engage consumers directly, but take it a step further to drive future product improvements. Monitoring conversations also helps to determine the best strategy for effective product messaging campaigns.
2. They Use Hashtags to Spy on Competitors
Hashtag research also helps marketers gather competitive intelligence by tracking related brands and products. From this, a smart marketer can easily pick out areas of strengths that a competitor’s product has, as well as weaknesses that can be exploited.
Additionally, marketers can also keep track of the amount of attention competitors’ campaigns are receiving. A good example of this is the recent Starbucks’ Tweet-a-coffee campaign, which could easily have been tracked by competitors and leveraged for their own use. Here’s a blog post showing how successful the Starbucks campaign was, and how it could be been monitored.
3. They Use Hashtag Analytics for Campaign Reporting
Savvy brands have launched a number of social media campaigns to amplify conversations about their brands. These campaigns tend to range from online-only to offline-online campaigns (e.g. displaying a hashtag on billboards with the hope of sparking conversations).
Hashtag research tools have helped these marketers report on both online and offline campaigns in their specific areas of interest. These automated tools enable marketers to track the virality their campaigns achieve, regardless of the size of the campaign. Hashtag analytics can be helpful in determining how much buzz a marketing campaign generated and how this has improved over time.
4. They Use Hashtags to Identify Contextual Influencers
Many users default to black-box scores from 3rd party organizations when identifying industry influencers. But smart marketers have learned over time that the results from these tools often ignore context. Jane Doe may be influential about cars, but is she the right person to talk about Audi A4s on Instagram?
Marketers interested in finding hyper-contextual influencers are using hashtag research to find the right ones to engage. By using an objective metric like ‘average likes per #Audi-related Instagram post,’ savvy brands have been able to reach out to the influencers who perform best for the conversations they truly care about.
5. They Engage Consumers through Hashtag Contests & Twitter Chats
Keeping consumers engaged is an ongoing challenge for most marketers. Two methods that have proven to work well over time have been Twitter chats and hashtag contests. The possibility of winning something from the contest acts as an incentive for social media users to participate in discussions about a product, for example, thereby keeping them engaged.
In most cases, these contests and chats are centered on specific hashtags; and monitoring conversations and participants can be quite a challenge when there are hundreds of users and thousands of posts. Hashtag tracking tools allow marketers to not only monitor these conversations during the contest (to select winners), but also remain aware of participants over the long run. While episodic engagement is good, ongoing engagement is the true goal and these tools allow saving a list of these users for future outreach as well.
6. They Discover Content Ideas Through Relevant Hashtag Searches
Having fresh, engaging content is a pre-requisite for any effective digital marketing campaign. Social media conversations can serve as a great way to discover content ideas and use these insights to craft engaging stories.
There are 2 main ways that marketers are using hashtag research to do this today. First, marketers track topical hashtags (e.g. #Renewables) to find the type of content that is engaging users today. Ideas from these posts can help a marketer improve on both existing and future posts they write.
A second way is by leveraging trending conversations within industries. For example, when David Letterman announced his retirement, fans used the #LettermanReplacement hashtag to vote on who they think should replace him. Analysis of this hashtag provided interesting data that was converted into meaningful content quite easily.
7. They Use Hashtags to Keep Up With Industry News
Last but not least, marketers are also using hashtag research to keep updated with industry-specific news. While users formerly did this via RSS feeds, the method has 2 big limitations: identifying sources ahead of time, and needing to browse through everything in the feed reader’s stream.
Using social media tools to track industry-specific keywords and hashtags allows marketers to focus on only the most important news as determined by the industry. Separating signal from the noise using tools has allowed smart marketers to save hundreds of hours while staying ahead of competitors in the industry.
It is quite clear that hashtags have become common in social media conversations, and marketers are using hashtag research and analytics to use them in intelligent ways. These are just some of the ways that we’ve found marketers using Keyhole to stay ahead of the curve and bring additional value to their clients and brands.
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