If you’ve ever used Twitter before, then you no doubt know what a #hashtag is. If you use Twitter as a part of your marketing efforts however, then you know just how important those little hashtags can be.

While the masses use hashtags to make little jokes at the end of their tweets, marketers take them much more seriously. Hashtags are more than just a way of making a point, they often represent a whole brand, or sector that a company is active in, increasing that company’s exposure to relevant Twitter users.

In fact, smart hashtag selection is almost as important as smart domain name selection, and just like domains – the ones you want are likely already in use.

So what is a smart marketer to do? It’s not uncommon nor unwise to create your own hashtag that will be unique to your brand. It will probably even catch on – but what happens when people start piggybacking on to your hashtag and using it for things that have nothing to do with its original intention?

Understanding What Hashtag Spam Jacking Is

Let’s say your company manufactures premium earbuds that specialize in providing superior levels of bass. After a bit of research, your company decides to go with the hashtag #basslover to further your brand’s reach and help your audience identify themselves.

Things are going great, and your hashtag is gaining traction rapidly. In fact, you start to realize that your hashtag is being used all over Twitter, even from people who don’t seem like your target audience at all.

You feel like you’re finally getting the hang of this “social stuff”, and why shouldn’t you? It’s flattering that other people are using your hashtag, right? After all, this is what you’ve worked so hard for! It might even get you more customers than you ever expected. Well, all that might be true if we were living in a perfect world, but if you’re living in the same world as I am – listen up!

For this example, let’s say the other people using this hashtag, are all fans of bass fishing, hence they also consider themselves to be included in the #basslover trend.

Problem is, there is little to no crossover between fans of music with loud bass and fans of bass fishing. Sure, there might be a few thousand more people using your hashtag, but chances are not a single one of them has even the slightest interest in your company. This is what’s commonly known as a #fail.

Minimizing the Negative Effects of Hashtag Spam Jacking

Fortunately for you, problems like this can be avoided, by using a service like Hashtracking – a tool that is invaluable for anyone using hashtags as a part of their marketing efforts.

Think of Hashtracking as the Google Analytics of hashtags – always running and always collecting information about the hashtags that matter to you most. And similar to Google tools like Analytics and Keyword Tool, Hashtracking can help you to select the right keywords to target before you spend time focusing on the wrong ones.

Hashtracking is more than just an aid in hashtag selection though. Once you’ve picked your hashtag, you can track it in real-time, to see just how far your reach is spreading and how your audience is interacting with your hashtag. Want to find the most influential people in your audience? The tool will tell you who the top contributors are for each hashtag you’re tracking using Hashtracking.

Don’t worry if you need to share this information with your team or client, just hit share and select the people who need access.

And, what about when you stop using a particular hashtag, but the information collected on it previously is still relevant? Well, the Hashtracking system saves all your past data, even if you stop collecting information on that hashtag.

Are you starting to rethink your whole hashtag strategy yet? Or are you just about ready to kick yourself for previously picking a random hashtag and trying to run with it?

With tools like this at your disposal, it really makes using random hashtags seem like taking a serious shot in the dark. Stop making the same mistakes everyone else is making and start leveraging tools to help you #win.

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