The 3 P’s of Hashtag Campaigns

The Novice Social Media Manager’s Recipe for Success

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The Novice Social Media Manager?s Recipe for Success

We’ve been providing people with social media walls for a little over three years now, so we’ve gotten quite a bit of insight into how people run their hashtag campaigns.

Something we often hear from customers is that running a hashtag campaign can be quite overwhelming, especially when it’s their very first hashtag campaign. There’s no need to actually be afraid of hashtag campaigns, of course. But it’s definitely smart to think properly about what you’re planning to do and how to avoid common pitfalls.

To make it a little easier for everyone new to this, we’ve designed a simple and easy-to-remember three-step formula for hashtag campaigns. Just remember the 3 P’s of hashtag campaigns — Prepare, Promote & Praise — and you’ll have all your bases covered.

1. Prepare

Plan the individual phases of your campaign and then prep blog posts, social media posts and visual content in advance as much as you can.

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success,” said Alexander Graham Bell. And he wasn’t wrong. Anyone who has ever cooked something more complicated knows that it’s easier and far less messy to have all their ingredients ready before they even start to cook.

The same goes for hashtag campaigns. Take the time to properly prepare for your hashtag campaign before running it. Do your research and be diligent about picking the right hashtag.

Map out your hashtag campaign. It doesn’t matter if you do it on a piece of paper, on a whiteboard, in a spreadsheet or using an app. Plan the individual phases of your campaign and then prep blog posts, social media posts and visual content in advance as much as you can.

During any campaign, it’s almost impossible to avoid short-notice and last-minute activity. You have to stay flexible anyway. But by planning and preparing everything as much as you can, you will at least keep the panicky moments to a minimum.

2. Promote

Promote the hell out of your hashtag campaign, using various marketing channels.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound? If you run a hashtag campaign but don’t tell anyone about it, does it really exist?

You may have picked the best hashtag in the world and planned the most worthwhile campaign — but if you don’t tell people it’s happening, they won’t know about it. So make some noise! Promote the hell out of your campaign, using various marketing channels.

The first rule of hashtag campaigns is that you have to use your own hashtag on your channels. Create interesting posts using your hashtag and use visual content to catch people’s eyes. Acquaint yourself with GIFs and memes. If you have the budget for it, produce videos and use them natively on social media platforms.

Don’t stop at social media, though! Many marketers still believe that it’s hard to convert attention from other media to digital, but cross-promotion works for hashtags. Depending on your budget, slap that hashtag on flyers, billboards, TV and YouTube ads or your own videos, and prompt people to use it.

Offer incentives to encourage other to use your hashtag. Give them good reasons to submit user-generated content to your campaign. This also includes being clear in all your promotion materials about what kind of UGC you would like them to create.

3. Praise

Once people are engaging with your campaign, show them some appreciation.

Once people are engaging with your campaign, show them some love. Social media is not a megaphone. We’re all there to have conversations rather than to just listen to brands yell into the void. So don’t ignore incoming submissions of UGC until it’s time to crown the winner. Don’t just let all those tweets using your hashtag scroll past you without doing anything.

Thank people for submitting content with a simple thank you tweet or by retweeting some of the submissions with your account to get them widely seen. People like being appreciated, and you can help them get their 15 minutes of fame by showcasing their tweets, posts and creations.

Re-share great content in connection with your campaign on your Facebook page or Instagram account. Just remember to ask permission first.

Use a social media hub to showcase the best tweets, posts and conversations happening around your hashtag! Give it a try with — it’s free!

Ready to hit the ground running?

Prepare for your campaign. Promote your hashtag. Praise your participants.

Our three P’s of hashtag campaigns are of course just a simplified device to help you ease into hashtag campaigning. Three steps might look easy enough, but please don’t underestimate the actual amount of work that will go into those three steps.

However, we hope that our little formula will help you remember the most important parts — whether you’re a novice at hashtag campaigns or an experienced social media manager just refreshing your basics.