Sunday, May 4, 2014

#CEO #CMO, 3 Steps to Turn the Little Hashtags into a Powerful Tool

As CEOs and CMOs, you are definitely familiar with those little hashtags that appears everywhere, some of which might be #yourcompany. As a graduate student in Northwestern University Medill School’s Integrated Marketing CommunicationsProgram, I have put my emphasis on leveraging social media to boost brands and have found two articles that are of interest to CEOs and CMOs who are willing to better understand the powerful hashtags for their brands.

In his article How to Use Hashtags to Increase Your Social Media Presence, Warren Knight indicated that hashtags, when being used strategically, can create huge popularity around your brand. Tweets with hashtags could double engagement rate. You could use hashtags at various occasions like sales promotions, special offers or educate others of your brand, but you have to make the hashtags you use concise and unique. Furthermore, you should also measure some KPIs (e.g. number of reposts, number of replies, link click etc.) in order to see whether your hashtag strategy works and if not, you should make adjustment accordingly.


In another article written by Warren Knight, 8 Social Media Mistakes to Avoid in 2014, he specified 8 mistakes to avoid, all of which could be applied to hashtag usage and eventually could be broken down into the following three points: First, don’t use hashtags to build your brand without a strategy. You should first know social media well and then build a strategy specifically for hashtags. Second, don’t blindly create social media presence on every possible social media platforms. Figure out where your customers aggregate and use hashtags to engage them where they are. Third, don’t use too much hashtags in one tweet. Confusing your customers is the least thing you want to do.

After reviewing these 2 articles, here are 3 actions CEOs and CMOs should consider taking:
l  Monitor Social: Do consumer research and social monitoring, know where they are and what they are talking about.
l  Define Social Strategy: Develop social media strategy as well as hashtag strategy and act accordingly.
l  Track KPIs: Constantly keep tracking your KPIs and make necessary adjustment.

Those three actions should be done in a sequential way and should form a loop. Though as CEOs and CMOs, you don’t have to change your strategy constantly, some minor update resulting from changes in consumer behaviors should be reflected in the strategy. If all three actions could be followed in a sequential way, hashtags will be at your service and create huge returns based on little investment.

Qingyang (Fernando) Ding is a Master of Science Candidate in Integrated Marketing Communications at Medill School, Northwestern University concentrating in Social, Digital Media and Branding, who is expected to graduate in December 2014. He is a four language speaker with multi-cultural background and is good at uncovering insights. With previous internship experience in automobile, industrial design, cosmetic and international commerce industries, he is aspired to be an exceptional customer oriented brand builder. Contact him on Twitter at @fernando_ding

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