Ok follow me on this one because I am about to lay down a killer metaphor.
You are chatting with your friends at a party, talking about the latest episode of The Last Man on Earth (if you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. Will Forte is a comic genius). All of a sudden, a guy wearing a Ralph Lauren polo (collar popped, and all) comes up to you and starts talking about how he got his polo for 30% off and you can too. "Sounds great man but we don't care," you say. He fires back with, "one time only sale! Get it now!".
Of course, I am exaggerating a little bit, but take a second and think about it. We see it all too often, not only on social media, but in digital advertising in general. Brands and companies have stopped caring about what their customers care about. I'm not saying you should post random pop culture facts on social, but you have to stay relevant. Stay in the conversation.
This is your bread and butter in figuring out how to best reach your customers. What are they talking about and how are they talking about it? Although hashtags have been around for quite some time, I am still not convinced that everyone knows what they do, so here is a simple explanation.
Hashtags are a categorization system for social media posts that relate to a bigger topic. For example, if you go to Twitter search and search "#dog" you will see a categorized feed with nothing but people's tweets containing "#dog." It's sort of like Google inside of Twitter.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
You can use these hashtags to strategically place your message in the most logical place. If I was a home furnishing store, and my goal was to sell more cookie jars and vases, then I could use hashtags to reach two different audiences. Even though I want to sell both items, not all individuals are interested in both. With hashtag research, I can position my posts so they are viewable to the most interested and engaged audience.
Red Circle = Interested Audience
White Circle = Uninterested Audience
HOW DO I DO THIS?
You really need to look at your audience and it isn't an exact science, but here is how you can help your chances.
The image above is what you will see when you go to Hashtagify.me, the red circle is the word you searched and around it are other related hashtags. So people that used the #cookie in their posts ALSO used one or more of these hashtags as well.
Example tweet: This #cookie is #yummy. I #love it!
The larger the circle the more popular it is. The thicker the line connecting them, the stronger the connection that they are used together.
This is a fantastic tool to gain a grasp on where to start and find out the most strategic way to position your product.
Instead of using:
Tweet: Don't forget the #cookie dough this holiday season.
Use this tool to make something like this:
Tweet: Need a stocking stuffer that everyone will #love? How about their favorite #cookie?
Very simple, but it could be the difference between your content being seen by 100 people or 1,000 people.
JUMP ON THE CULTURAL BAND WAGON.
Remember what I said about not posting random pop culture facts to stay relevant? Well you don't have to but if you can find a way to make it fit into your brand then it makes it easier, and in my opinion more creative.
Here is a great example of connecting your brand to a cultural event.
By matching the tone of #TheoryWars, Yamaha Percussion was able to position themselves in front of thousands of Star Wars fans in a non-advertisy (Yes, that is now a word) way that still promoted their brand.
In conclusion, don't be the "jerk at the party." Listen to your audience. Make content that is engaging for them because they are interested in it, not content that merely is interesting to you.