How To Create A Viral Hashtag Campaign On Twitter


In my previous article “Hashtag Campaign : The Ultimate Guide”, I discussed hashtag campaigns in general but this time I am focusing specifically on running hashtag campaign on Twitter.

Twitter has a lion’s share of the most active social media users out of which 59% of the users are aged from 18-49 and this is the age group which most businesses are targeting generally. Source

Grabbing the audience attention on Twitter is critical and cannot be overlooked. This is why getting your hashtag campaign on Twitter to trend is really important. And if you do it right, it ain’t too hard.

So, let’s get started.

Steps To Create A Viral Hashtag Campaign On Twitter:

#1. Build A Team

First of all, get the right people to build a team which will set up and manage the hashtag campaign. Allocate the tasks efficiently to the team members.

An ideal team for hashtag campaign should consist of people specializing in the following:

  • Content Creation

Content is what will attract people to your campaign and you only have a few seconds to get their attention when they land on your page.

So without a doubt, it should be your top priority. Have a skilled, creative content creator on your team.

Your content creator will work closely with your analytics manager also to create content which attracts most engagement for your campaign. Content can be anything from blog posts to YouTube videos.

  • Engagement Management

Your Engagement manager will execute your social media strategy including scheduling posts, publishing them on the social media relevant to your brand or business, engaging with the audience by liking, re-tweeting/sharing good posts or replying to them.

The engagement manager will be your voice to those who are responding to your campaign so ensure that (s)he is able to communicate effectively with them.

  • Analytics

The analytics manager will select the metrics which are to be tracked corresponding to the goals which are to be achieved with the campaign.

Based on the campaign’s performance he should be able to suggest modifications in your content depending on what’s working with the audience.

#2. Analyze Your Own And Your Competitor’s Presence On Social Media

Before you get down to planning your next big hashtag campaign on Twitter, you need to take a good look at your current presence on Twitterspace.

The same comparative analysis needs to be done for your competitors as well. This will also help you to learn from their successes and failures.

  • Analyze Your Current Influence On Twitter

Conduct a quick profile analysis of your Twitter account which will allow you to measure your current position in Twitterspace.

Analyze your current reach, impressions, top contributors, influential followers, niche influencers, followers’ conversations and similar parameters.

  • Jot Down The Most Used Hashtags And Keywords Related To Your Brand

Use word cloud of ExportTweet’s hashtag analytics to know the most used hashtags related to your business.

Enter the hashtag/keyword to get the associated buzz words and select the most relevant ones.

  • Analyze Your Competitor’s Presence

Similar to your own profile analysis, carry out the analysis of your competitor’s Twitter profile.

Use ExportTweet’s account analytics to know what your competitors are up to and who is talking about them on Twitter.


#3: Define Your Goals And Set The Corresponding Metrics

Identify the goals that you want to achieve with the social media campaign. The goals to target should be related to your brand or business.

Following are some of the goals which can be set to achieve through hashtag campaign on Twitter:

  • Brand Awareness – One of the main objectives of any social media marketing strategy is to increase awareness and influence of the brand in front of the target audience.

The content you post in your hashtag campaign needs to be relevant to your brand and signify what you stand for.

The winner of the 7th Annual Shorty Awards in Hashtag Campaign, #PutACanOnIt, was started when Red Bull discovered a photo online in which the a can was held over a Mini Cooper such that it looked like a Red Bull Mini.


And then they came up with the hashtag #PutACanOnIt which started trending when fans took to Instagram and Twitter to upload and hashtag 10,000 original #PutACanOnIt photos.

It became so extensive that even other big bands such as Pepsi and Perrier participated in it. Indeed, #PutACanOnIt went viral.

  • Drive traffic to your website – To apprise people of what your brand has to offer, you need to drive them to your website. You need them to check out your content or your products.

If your business is based online, website traffic is one of the most crucial metrics there are. And a hashtag campaign can be perfect to fuel that.

For instance, Ben & Jerry’s started its #fairtweets campaign to drive people to its micro-site which allowed people to use the leftover characters from 140 characters of their tweets to include a message related to Fair Trade Day and attach a short link to one of its articles related to Fair Trade.

  • Increase sales and leads – What’s the ultimate goal of your business? Profits? You can’t have that if you don’t generate leads and convert them into customers.

Use your hashtag campaign with a clear CTA (Call to action) to get them to the landing page.

Take the example of Dominos which came up with the hashtag campaign #letsdolunch in 2012.

Depending on the number of tweets posted with the hashtag #letsdolunch during 9 AM- 11 AM,Dominos would lower the price of one of its pizzas of the day by a penny per tweet during lunchtime 12 PM-3PM. 85,000 tweets were posted that day with the hashtag and the price of the pizza was knocked down from £15.99 to £7.74.

This definitely increased their sales during lunchtime which is a usually quiet hour for the Pizza brand.

  • Build a community – Social media allows people to stay connected to one’s community, share what’s new and talk to each other.

So you can build a community to engage the people who are already connected to your brand and attract those who may become loyal customers later.

Once the goals which you want to achieve with this campaign have been defined, you need to select the metrics corresponding to them which you need to track.

For instance, Clif Bar started a campaign #MeetTheMoment. On every Clif Bar product, one would find an Adventure Challenge urging the consumer to go on an adventure and post about it on social media with the hashtag #MeetTheMoment on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google + or Vine.

For every post, Clif Bar would donate $1 to an environmental non-profit.

The idea of the campaign was really interesting and so it was wildly successful thus successfully creating a community of people already connected with the brand attracting new ones too.

Following are the critical metrics which can be tracked for your Hashtag Campaign on Twitter :

  • Potential reach– Total number of Twitter accounts the tweets have reached.
  • Potential impressions– The number of Twitter users whose timeline has been delivered with the tweet.
  • Engagement– Replies, re-tweets, mentions and likes indicating how the people are reacting to the campaign.
  • Contributors – Includes the most active contributors, most active re-tweeters, most popular contributors, most engaging contributors, accounts maximum photographs and videos share

Other parameters which can also be analyzed if needed are day pattern, week pattern, device source, followers’ language analysis, their activity analysis, geographical location etc.

#4: Plan And Get Started

  1. Create A Theme And Hashtag

The theme of a hashtag campaign needs to be catchy but not trivial. Create a hashtag which matches your brand values and the way people perceive it. Also it needs to be precise in what it needs the users to do.

The main things to keep in mind related to your brand are:

  • Perception – This is the most important thing to keep in mind while creating the theme for your campaign.

If public perception of your brand doesn’t align with the theme you choose then your hashtag campaign won’t have the desired effect.

So analyze your brand image properly or else your hashtag will be vulnerable to getting trolled.

  • Values- Every brand cannot do a hashtag campaign for every cause. So choose your social media battles wisely.

What your brand stands for should be in sync with the hashtag campaign’s theme.

Your values, what your brand strives to do for your customers, should be reflected in the campaign.

  1. Curate The Content

The content needs to be planned according to the campaign type. If it’s inviting User Generated Content (UGC) then the kind of tweets to be posted need to be planned with content attractive enough to get people to post.

If it’s a brand hashtag campaign then it needs to have content relevant to the hashtag and the brand as well.

It can be a hashtag for a special discount offer. Or it can be a contest hashtag with a requirement of using the hashtag to enter the contest so it should have compelling content and a giveaway good enough to get people to participate.

  1. Plan The Posting And Promotion

Just like content, it’s important to plan the schedule according to which it has to be posted.

Content needs to be posted as per the time when the targeted audience is most active online.

Based on this, the number of posting time slots have to be decided.

#5: Measure, Evaluate And Adjust

Once your hashtag campaign plan is up and running, it needs to be monitored round the clock.

Your team needs to know the objective of and the strategy used in the campaign. The metrics that you are targeting need to be tracked constantly.

Analyze the data that you get from tracking and see if you are on track of achieving your goals of your hashtag campaign on Twitter according to the timeline you have set.

Evaluate the kind of content which works best with your audience and modify your content accordingly.

Similarly analyze how effective your content calendar is in helping you attract the greatest attention and improvise.


I hope you are now fully equipped to create and run your own hashtag campaign on Twitter. Do let me know your feedback in the comments section.

How To Create A Viral Hashtag Campaign On Twitter
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How To Create A Viral Hashtag Campaign On Twitter
Complete steps for creating and running a viral Hashtag campaign on Twitter. Plan, setup, execute and monitor the hashtag campaign illustrated with live examples.
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