We all know we’re living in a very greedy world. A world where asking someone to brush their teeth is like pulling teeth (don’t believe me? you haven’t met my kids). But through those problems we find solutions and in this instance I am going to focus on “bribery.” If I promised to give my kids a new book, toy or slime (oh YouTube!) they didn’t hesitate to do anything and everything that I asked for until they got what was promised. Through this simple concept we can determine that for people to do something that we want them to do (like use your hashtag)—you need to give them something. So let’s change the word “bribery” into something more acceptable “incentive.”
…for people to do something that we want them to do (like use your hashtag)—you need to give them something.
How can you incentivize users to utilize your #hashtag?
This is the big question that we need to answer and to be honest this requires more than one answer. Because of the fact that there are so many different facets to social media, there really is no “one” solution that will suffice. Instead it’s building out a plan that will get the user to interact from wherever they are: social media, online or onsite activations.
…building out a plan that will get the user to interact from wherever they are
Let’s break things down place by place starting with the most obvious social media. Twitter is where hashtags originated from simply because this is the only way tweets can be categorized without really being categorized (does that make sense?) but more like grouped within certain conversations. So where does your hashtag come into play? Simple, join the conversations (or #hashtags) that are relevant to you and squeeze your hashtag into the 140 character message limit, and bring attention to your CTA through your incentive or contest—this is called hijacking a topic—but keep in mind that your message should stay relevant. This also works with other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. You can run simple contests and monitor winners though the number of LIKES, RETWEETS, REPOSTS or MENTIONS.
With social media aside how else can you incentivize users to use your hashtag? Use the voice of your current users. These are the users that already know about you or your company. These users are frequents to your website, e-commerce site, blogs, email and newsletters as well as (yes, i’m mentioning it once again…) social media. These are the best people to share your #hashtag with because they already have an affinity for you or your brand. Twisting their arm is not going to be hard at all and you should use them to help share your message across platforms whether this for a new product release, charity effort, movement, etc. You can incentivize these users with special discounts, exclusive party invites, webinar invites, special interviews, free downloadable content—basically anything that will continue to build affinity and community with your core group.
This is the tricky one. This is the culmination of both new and existing users coming together in one place—with everything going on at an event activation you definitely need to have an edge over everyone else when it comes to experiential marketing otherwise you will be overlooked. So what should you do? Look at what everyone is at the event to do and see how you can take a advantage of their “normal” activity. Here are a couple scenarios:
- People will be eating: Do a “foodie” shot challenge with your hashtag, best photo gets a prize, mention or repost.
- People will be drinking: Give away free drinks with a hashtag mention, DM users with the incentive quickly after the post.
- People will be dancing: Share a quick video of your best dance move to your hashtag to win a free swag gift.
- People will be listening to a seminar: Giveaway free branded notepads and pens for a post.
- People will be taking photos: Hire a real-time hashtag printer such as Tic-Tac-Tag (www.tictactag.com). Guests can receive a free photo print out of their post on a branded 4×6 template when they use your hashtag within seconds.
These are just some quick ideas that you can implement today or plan for in upcoming marketing events to help amplify your social media engagement using the event hashtag. At the end of the day, the most important thing that you can do is share your hashtag across all mediums and let your users know that you will be leveraging a special hashtag for discussions, promotions or incentives.