Let’s be honest, many people are at first apprehensive about running a hashtag campaign. For one, not everyone has extensive experience with social media. And if it’s not the main focus of your work, a social media hashtag campaign can seem quite overwhelming.
What if we mess up? What if people don’t like it? What if something goes wrong? The fear of doing something wrong or not doing it well enough is entirely human, after all.
Resistance to hashtag campaigns isn’t just something that happens to solitary social media managers working in-house in small companies. Even in big agencies that run social media accounts for multiple brands, ideas for hashtag campaigns can be met with trepidation.
So here are 3 common fears you — or your colleagues, bosses or clients — might be having about your next hashtag campaign. Fortunately, they’re fears that you can easily lower by following our advice.
Hashtag Fear #1: “What if no one posts anything?”
This is is one of the worst-case scenarios people immediately think of: You’ve just taken your brand new hashtag campaign live, you’re posting away using your hashtag — aaaaand crickets: the internet doesn’t take notice of your efforts at all, and no one is using your hashtag, let alone submitting the awesome user-generated content you were hoping for.
Of course, there’s always a risk, but there are a couple of things you can do to minimise that risk by preparing and running your hashtag campaign smartly.
Solution: Be clear and promote thoughtfully
For people to post using your hashtag they first need to know it exists. Then they need to understand what it’s about. And then they have to really want to participate. In a world suffering from content overload, it’s not easy to get people’s attention and to keep it.
Many campaigns make the mistake of barely promoting their hashtag or promoting it only on social media. Use your own channels — not just social media channels, but your newsletter and your website as well. Promote your campaign cross-media in print, radio, TV, multimedia content and billboards. Take out ads if you have the budget for it.
— doisy & dam (@doisyanddam) March 10, 2017
But all that promotion is worth nothing if people don’t understand what the campaign is about. Clear wordings and unambiguous calls-to-action are the driving force of a successful hashtag campaign. Tell people what your campaign is about, why you want them to be a part of it and what you would like them to do. And make sure that information is easy to find!
And if you’re asking for user-generated content, offer incentives. People are much more likely to go to the effort of creating something for your campaign if there’s a possible reward.
Hashtag Fear #2: “What if our hashtag turns out to be terrible?”
Some fears are irrational. Others are perfectly legit. After hashtag disasters like singer Susan Boyle’s #susanalbumparty promotion for her album release in 2012, a hashtag fail is definitely something to ward yourself against. Again, preparation is your friend.
— Joanne (@Joanne_McNulty) March 15, 2017
Solution: Choose your hashtag wisely
When coming up with the hashtag to use in your next campaign, leave yourself ample time to find the right one. First, figure out what your goals are for your campaign and brainstorm hashtag ideas accordingly. Ideally, you can do this with other people in your department or company. Discuss and throw some ideas around. At this stage, every idea is valid.
Then, whittle the hashtags down to a short list and get input on it from people who weren’t part of the initial brainstorming group. You’ll want fresh minds on it!
Once you’ve chosen your hashtag, there is one more thing you can do: run your brand new hashtag by the filthiest brain you know. If there’s a possible double entendre in your hashtag, they’ll spot it. And that’s how you prevent the likes of #susanalbumparty. 😉
Hashtag Fear #3: “What if we get hashtag-hijacked?”
The first thing you need to know about hashtag hijackings is that they happen. There’s always a risk of someone butting in on your campaign to derail it, either because they have beef with you or just because they are trolls. Obviously, the chance is higher for brands who are seen as engaging in problematic behaviour. But even if you’re clean as a whistle, you’re not bulletproof and might have to deal with a hashtag hijacking at some point.
Even if it doesn’t go that far, many brands are still worried about inappropriate content on their hashtag — something as simple as one of the countless bots scooping up trending hashtags to post porn.
Solution: Create a social hub you control
You can’t control what people put on Twitter or Instagram using your hashtag. But with a social media wall, you can create a hub for all the social media content from your campaign and filter out the unsavoury bits.
Social walls have extensive moderation features that let you take charge of which content is shown and which isn’t. With Walls.io, for example, you can set up automatic moderation with a blacklist to keep certain post off your social wall completely. You can even use our default blacklist that blocks the most common offensive words used in spam posts.
You can also individually hide specific posts in the moderation panel with a simple click and even block certain users from showing up on your wall.
This keeps monitoring efforts to a minimum and you don’t need any extra tools to make sure your campaign hub looks awesome and isn’t hijacked.
And now over to you
Overall, the better you plan your campaign, the better it will run. Be smart about picking your hashtag. Take the time to create a marketing plan before you go live. Decide how and where to promote your campaign. Be clear about what you want to achieve and how you want people to participate. Use a social wall with moderation features to create a clean hub for your campaign content and then use your wall to promote your hashtag campaign further.
It might take a few campaigns for fears to subside completely, but if you keep delivering good content, you can definitely convince brands and bosses that hashtag campaigns can do wonders for them.