Sunday, November 14, 2010

Utilizing #Hashtags to #Engage

As I continue to grow as a communicator I enjoy trying new and innovative ways to engage in the social space. My employer, Busam Automotive, has been great about giving me some freedom to experiment with new tactics.

A few weeks back we had a pet adoption day at our Subaru store, Love a Pet at Busam Subaru. We invited 4 local animal rescues to attend and bring their adoptable cats and dogs. I also reserved a pet name tag engraving to have at the event.

To promote the event I used traditional strategies like pitching to local media and bloggers, making a Facebook event, and so on. ~ But I wanted to do something a little more innovative ~ In comes the hashtag.

The first thing I did was claim a hashtag, #LoveaPet. Claiming a hashtag is fairly simple and doesn't take a lot of time. To claim a hashtag check out What's the Hashtag ~ You can also claim it on What's the Trend. Claiming a hashtag is beneficial on several levels.
  • Gives you an opportunity to give a quick "elevator pitch" about the event
  • Allows you to add other links and relevant pages ~ i.e. press release, Facebook event page, relevant blog posts, etc...
  • SEO (link building)
After the hashtag is set up you have to get the word out and encourage involvement. To engage followers I tweeted saying I would make anyone a pet name tag if they tweeted back their pet's name, a picture of their pet and used #loveapet.

After the responses I selected one and made a short video ~

In addition to the short video, I made tags for followers who interacted. I took a picture of each tag and tweeted the pictures at them with #loveapet. I also incorporated the hashtag on the actual tag ~ (I later mailed the tags)

I was glad to provide the tags, but didn't expect much beyond a RT or a thank you ~ I was wrong!

The video was made for Kelly Rodamer ~ It turns out she has a dog blog and did a post on the event!

After I mailed Dino's tag to Amy Storer-Scalia she took a picture of it and tweeted it using #loveapet.

There is one problem with using a hashtag for an event ~ How do you use the hashtag when the event is over? I have a few suggestions ~
  • The Love a Pet Event was the kickoff the Pet Adoption Month at the dealership. We are donating $100 for each Subaru sold in the month of November. I use the #loveapet when tweeting about our donation totals. It's a great way to showcase social good using the hashtag.
  • Before the event I visited each animal rescue and featured the organization in a blog post. I use #loveapet when tweeting about those posts.
  • I follow local and national animal agencies. I RT and interact with them and add #loveapet whenever relevant.
Incorporating #loveapet into our overall PR strategy proved to be a valuable tool. Have you used hashtags for an event or cause? Would like to hear what else you have to add!

Until next time, whether it's B2B or B2C it's all Business to Person

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