Hashtags were introduced to Twitter in 2007 as a way to categorize messages and allow users to easily find conversations of interest. It didn’t take long for hashtags themselves to start signaling puns, sarcasm or providing additional context. Tweets like “the accuracy of disappointment at its finest” or “That was #RedWedding levels of disappointing” don’t tell us much. But if I tell you that that they both end with the hashtag  #NBAfinals, you suddenly get context.

Sending out a key message in as little words as possible is a challenge for every marketer – and hashtags are a perfect medium to do just that. Pretty much every campaign today has an associated hashtag, and many times the number of hashtag mentions is used is often a KPI for marketers.

But how to track mentions, measure their performance and find useful insights? To many, this is still a mystery. That’s why in Mediatoolkit we developed a tool that does it all for you. It enables you to find all mentions and does all the measuring work. You can also create beautiful hashtag reports that look something like this final report will look something like this. (The link contains a 6-page PDF file for the hashtag #NationalDonutDay, with various graphs you can find useful).

How To Start Tracking Hashtags

To start tracking, you need a tool. Lucky for you, Mediatoolkit offers free trial, so you can check if it would be a fit even before the campaign starts. What does Mediatoolkit do? It monitors more than 100 million sources, including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages real-time. So, if your hashtag gets tweeted, Mediatoolkit immediately shows it in the tool, plus you can get notifications via app, email or Slack.

To start tracking your hashtag, all you need to do is type it in as a query.

If the hashtag has been used lately, you’ll see some results in seconds. If not, they’ll start appearing as soon as people start using your hashtag.

Being hungry while writing this, I decided to make a small analysis on currently trending #NationalDonutDay.

As you can see, all of the #hashtags are in one place, regardless if they’re from Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Helpful if you have a team tracking and responding to the hashtag (as, you should if you take your campaign seriously).

Keeping track of your hashtag mentions and responding when suitable is a great practice that increases engagement and improves chances of campaign going viral. If  someone is reading this while tracking #NationalDonutDay, keep in mind that yes, I would like a free donut and yes there is a chance that it will make you viral.

How To Measure Hashtag Performance Using Mediatoolkit 

On the other hand, analysis lets you or your client know what was the outcome of the campaign. To start with, let’s determine your own role in company. Are you a global or local brand manager? Why should it matter?

As many of our customers find out really soon, the number of results can be overwhelming. Especially if hashtag only consists of a global brand’s name, or of a commonly used catchphrase. At the moment, #NationalDonutDay has more than 10000 mentions.

Lucky for me, not as many calories.

Now, we all have our donut favorites (personal favorite is All of them. Preferably at the same time. If possible, always.). But, usually we don’t really work for ALL of the brands. In that case, editing our query a bit might take us a long way.

For no reason whatsoever I decided to play pretend as Dunkin Donuts brand manager (let me know if they’re hiring).

Using Boolean operators, I decided to track all of the mentions of #nationaldonutday also mentioning #dunkindonuts and it’s variations “Dunkin donuts” or just “dunkin”.

I also could have added some often made typos like “dnukin”, “dunking” or “omgthisissugaryheaven” to make sure I catch all of the mentions. The number of keywords one query can include is actually unlimited, making it possible to truly narrow down or widen the search when necessary.

After listing all of the results. I can further analyze how the hashtag was used. In the reports section, I checked what’s been happening for the last week and unsurprisingly, June 1st had most of the mentions.

With report showing the previous period too, we can see the week before (or a month before if that report would suit you more) had no mentions. With something event based as #nationaldonutday, lack of previous mentions is to be expected. On the other hand, if you have a long term campaign, benchmarking against your own previous efforts is foolproof way to get your campaign going.

I also decided to check on a sentiment, and guess what, it’s overwhelmingly positive. Negatives are mostly based on hating the diabetes, but nevertheless, sentiment may be crucial in determining success of a campaign. Thousands of mentions are all fun and game, until you get #McDstory type of situation.

But where did the tweets come from?  As obvious in report, it’s almost all USA.

Less obvious is that by clicking on any part of the map, I can see mentions from that country alone. So, if I’m mostly interested in tweets from Brazil, I can filter them out and additionally analyze engagement there.

Speaking of engagement, do you usually check what social network brings you the most results?

Sure, Instagram and Twitter are the primary networks for hashtag overloads. But take notice of how Instagram acts faster, but also, loss of interest is comparably faster to Twitter. Your audience may be quite the opposite, so it’s worthwhile to get some insights for future reference.

And finally, check out if some influencers caught on using the hashtag.

Number of times the hashtag was used can be greatly influenced by most popular influencers using it. Without Tasty, I’d probably miss out on #nationaldonutday. Without a proper ambassador, I’ll probably miss out on your campaign too. So use influencers to make sure you’re getting the right coverage. And track it using Mediatoolkit.

 

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Part of the Mediatoolkits PR and marketing crew. Mostly covers various aspects of tech development and PR measurability. Hates veggies.