5 WAYS TO INCREASE VISITOR USAGE OF YOUR HASHTAG

Ever wonder how to increase usage of your hashtag? Do you wish more visitors (and locals) used your official hashtag? Well, we’re here to put an end to the wishing and wondering. These five simple tweaks to your strategy can make a huge difference.

Even the smallest Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) can create a passionate following under a hashtag. The secret is aggressive promotion. You have to live and breathe your hashtag, and promote it at any given opportunity. This is what we recommend to have the most popular hashtag in your area.

1. Promote your hashtag in the bio of ALL your social media channels

This sounds like a very simple item to check off the to-do list. It is! Be that as it may, this is a common missed opportunity for brands.  We found that only 66% of State DMOs promote their official hashtag in their Twitter bio.

Simply place the hashtag at the end of the bio, or write a little blurb about it. Featuring the hashtag in a bio shows the DMO takes the hashtag seriously, and monitors it regularly. Moreover, audiences are looking for this information. They want to use popular, branded hashtags in hopes of being seen.

It should be a written rule to have a brand’s official hashtag in the Instagram and Twitter bios, specifically. Hashtags on Instagram and Twitter are the go-to source for discovering similar content, larger conversations, and like-minded people. Hashtags function differently (or don’t function at all) on other social sites such as Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube. However, we recommend featuring official hashtags in Facebook bios in order to build awareness. It’s not necessary to highlight a hashtag in Pinterest or YouTube bios. There are other ways to promote a hashtag through these channels, which we will cover in section 3 of this blog!

2. Feature your hashtag prominently on your website

A website is the main hub for all information on a brand…including social media. Given that, a hashtag should be proudly displayed on a website. 

  • Here are some ideas:
    • Feature the hashtag on the scrolling banner of the homepage
    • Feature the hashtag in the header/footer near the social media icons
    • Create a landing page about the brand’s social media
    • Create a photo gallery of images using your hashtag
    • Write a blog featuring the best photos using your hashtag

3. Use your hashtag on your social media posts (properly)

It’s easy to get carried away with hashtags. Just because hashtags are a powerful means of sharing information, does not mean they should be overused. Additionally, hashtags serve different purposes on varying channels.

Here are tips for using/promoting a hashtag on the most popular social media channels:

  • Instagram
    • Include the official hashtag in every. single. Instagram post.
    • Take a look at the example above to see a great template for hashtag usage on Instagram. Notice how Visit Hamilton County features their main hashtag (#VisitHC) in the caption. Then, they commented on the photo with other promotional hashtags. This allows your captions to appear clean, while capitalizing on the power of hashtags.
  • Twitter
    • Most importantly, feature your hashtag more than any other hashtag on Twitter.
    • Avoid using more than 2 hashtags per Tweet. Research shows Tweets with too many hashtags do not perform well.
    • Another way to generate excitement for your hashtag on Twitter, is to reply to Tweets while including your hashtag.
  • Facebook
    • Hashtag functionality is…odd on Facebook. Click on a hashtag and notice there is not a seamless stream of content like Twitter and Instagram.
    • With that, it’s important to solely promote only your official hashtag. Using other hashtags such as #Summer, #FridayFeeling, etc. will not increase your reach.
    • Think of hashtag usage on Facebook as a similar strategy to featuring hashtags on a roadside billboard. It’s simply a means of awareness.
  • YouTube
    • Hashtags on YouTube will not increase your rank in search on the platform.
    • Similarly to Facebook, use YouTube as a means to raise awareness about your hashtag. You can accomplish this by featuring your hashtag at the beginning/end of your videos.
  • Pinterest
    • Here’s an interesting article about explicitly NOT using hashtags on Pinterest.
    • One way to promote a hashtag on Pinterest is create a Board featuring the hashtag in the title. Add Instagram photos utilizing the hashtag that are worth featuring.

4. Promote your hashtag IRL

Get creative, and find ways to promote your hashtag offline.

First of all, your hashtag should appear on EVERY printed piece produced by your brand. This includes:

  • VISITOR GUIDES
  • Posters
  • Brochures
  • Billboards
  • Even annual reports and marketing plans

Furthermore, printed materials can be created specifically to promote a hashtag. Here are some ideas:

  • Hashtag keychains
  • Coasters featuring the hashtag
  • Provide window clings of your hashtags and supply them to local businesses

5. Ask people to use your hashtag

Want to grow usage for a hashtag? Simply ask people to do so! Remember, social media users want to know about the hottest hashtags, and will use them passionately.

Here’s how to ask people to use a branded hashtag:

  • Find photos on Instagram that are not using a branded hashtag by searching geotags and similar, non-branded hashtags.
  • Simply comment on the photo and say something along the lines of, “This is a wonderful pic. We wished you would have used #OurHashtag! Next time? “

Overtime, this grassroots effort will raise awareness about your hashtag!

Remember, you can do this! All the tools are available to create a popular hashtag, now you just have to activate them. Always ask yourself where you can insert your hashtag in a new marketing push. Paid campaigns can also help raise awareness for a hashtag, but never underestimate the power of a little extra effort!