Of Hashtag Contests and Trending on Twitter

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It’s been just a year that I have started using twitter. I joined a social media company last year and there I got to know that twitter is being used by brands for their marketing. I was assigned with the same work but believe me I had few sleepless nights figuring out how to go about it. I still remember that hot Sunday afternoon in May 2012 when one of my friends taught me the basics of twitter over the phone call. I must say I have learned a lot and seen a lot of trends since then. I have started analyzing the trending topics and somewhere I can predict what will trend in coming time.

This summer, I had not seen a single day where IPL or things related to that had not made to top trends on twitter and it’s of no surprise. When I attended my first social media training, I was told that cricket and Bollywood are the undisputed rulers of Indian Social Media. Brands are leveraging the BRAND CRICKET. Recently I saw a hastag trending: #PandaKnows and it was trending when final match was being played between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings.

The most famous tweet went something like this: Only #PandaKnows who will win #IPLFINAL

It got maximum RTs and I guess the guy who tweeted this might have won. The contest FoodPanda was running at that time.Well, I guess I have talked enough on cricket and how brands are using it.

There are so many hashtags which have made to list of top trending topics in no time. That often got many questions to my mind: Is there a magical algorithm behind these hashtags or people love the brand or whatever, but personally social media professionals should not take it a success measure for their campaign. I remember the first time I made something to number 1 spot of trending topics, I went like “OMG I did this, I will be getting a huge incentive from my boss”. It was a worldwide digital marketing conference.

However, I forgot that organizer have spent crores on setting up everything and calling all the marketing bigshots as speakers, if something is not going trending then there is a big problem and if it is going trending then it is no achievement. It’s just that everything went in place.

Recently, I was going through a case study by Brandlogist, wherein they ran a twitter campaign to spread awareness for a restaurant based in New Delhi: Chi Restaurant. The hashtag they used was #SpreadingChi. They searched for tweets with specific keywords like ‘angry’, ‘bored’, ‘sad’ and ‘hungry’. Once they found those tweets, they replied to their distressed’ tweets with funny quotes, pictures, videos or whatever it would take to bring a smile to their faces.When they had the conversations going, they understood what tweeple liked from their menu options (thus making them aware of the brand in detail) & giving the same specific items on huge discounts from 30%-80%.In certain cases they gave them discounts on the whole food bill. Result: 90%+ of the people responded back in that campaign.

For Brands: Please run some “Not-So –Stupid “contests on twitter and don’t make your end goal to top that trending list.

I have learnt that now and I must say I am still learning.

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