When thing about your hotel social media marketing strategy, Twitter is an essential part of real-time customer service and guest marketing. Hashtags are generally considered integral to the success of any Twitter campaign. Similar to keywords, hashtags were designed to help Twitter users organize, filter, and search for content. They are supposed to help your brand and its content get found by users who are looking for what you have to offer.
But, recent research suggests that Twitter hashtags might not be as easy-to-use and effective as previously thought.
As the infographic below illustrates, general industry hashtags like #sales, #marketing, and #SEO are cluttered with spam and mindless engagement, with quite possibly more people using it than actually searching it. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should give up on all hashtags.
Why you shouldn’t give up on hashtags
Simply put, hashtags on Twitter have reached the same point that SEO keywords reached many years ago.
Much like the blogosphere and the web itself, Twitter marketing has become more popular. As a result, the space has become more crowded with businesses using it and vying for consumer attention. A few years ago, the practice of keyword stuffing on a website was used to manipulate search results. The result was increased traffic, but at the expense of the consumer experience. In response, Google changed its algorithm so that sites that practice keyword stuffing outside of the context of natural language are heavily penalized in search results.
In the same way, many business are now using and abusing popular Twitter hashtags like those shared in the infographic below, and the result is those hashtags have become crowded and largely uninformative for consumers.
So what should hotel marketers do on Twitter? Instead of abandoning hashtag efforts altogether, hoteliers need to follow the same path that SEO experts have taken with keywords. Hotel marketers need to get more specific with the long-tail keyword equivalent of hashtags for their businesses.
By going more niche and creating content on topics that are very specific to what your hotel has to offer and what your guests are looking for, the right “long-tail hashtags” can help your brand reach a more qualified audience and see a greater impact.
In most instances, these hashtags might not be the most popular ones online. But, the individuals using them are highly engaged and more likely to consider booking with your hotel.
Not sure how to find niche hashtags that will work for your hotel? An easy way to start is to look at what hashtags your guests are using when they post about your hotel online. This serves as an effective way to uncover how they are describing their needs and the words they would type into a search engine in order to fulfill them. It can also help to look at your online reviews to see how guests are describing your amenities, and which amenities are most important to them.
For example, the Instagram user (who also Tweeted his Instagram) seems to be pretty obsessed with infinity pools. If you have one, the hashtag #infinitypool and another hashtag with your geographical location may be specific enough to cut through a lot of the Twitter noise and reach the people who are looking for you, specifically.
You should also consider engaging with users like this, who are highly engaged and likely to become valuable promoters.
Here’s the Vengage infographic. The most important thing to note for hotels? Generic hashtags are out. Use Twitter to start conversations that lead to connections, not just spammy notifications.