4 Ways Economic Development Marketers Can Find the Best Hashtags for Twitter

December 20, 2017

Ever since hashtags were created in 2007, they have become an increasingly important component of building a successful social media presence.

Hashtags can help accounts gain followers, improve their reputations and create branded marketing campaigns. Today, hashtags can even “make or break” a social media post, with some sources reporting that tweets without hashtags receive two times less engagement than tweets with hashtags. That’s why it’s important for economic development organizations (EDOs) to research and utilize the best hashtags possible in their digital economic development marketing efforts.

To find the most relevant Twitter hashtags, here are four simple methods to consider.

1. Go straight to the source

 When creating social media posts for events, trade shows or other industry functions, EDOs should always search for the official hashtags first. Often times, industry partners will designate a specific hashtag to use, which can save marketers time in researching.

For example, for the 2018 BIO International Conference, the conference’s official Twitter account lists the preferred hashtag for the event: #BIO2018. By looking ahead of time, EDOs can also join in on the conversation well in advance.

2. Use third-party websites

While there are a number of sophisticated social media software programs on the market, there are also helpful free options which can assist EDOs in their hashtag research. Currently, three of my favorite free websites to use are:

  • TweetReach: An analytics tool that shares top insights about hashtags, including reach and contributors.
  • TrendsMap: A visual map that identifies which hashtags are trending across the globe and where, allowing EDOs to find relevant tags for their region.
  • Me: An analysis tool that allows users to compare the popularity of different hashtags, in order to determine which tags offer more reach.

Some of these tools can be extremely helpful. For example, in Dutchess County, New York, a few of the region’s key players were primarily using #DutchessCountyNY before hashtag research showed that #DutchessCounty was actually a more popular hashtag to use.

3. Adjust your Twitter trends settings

 Per Twitter, trending hashtags are determined by an algorithm that looks at current account demographics, such as followers and location. However, many times, it’s necessary for economic development marketers to know trends outside of their home location, such as in a competitor destination or even another part of their region.

Luckily, there is a simple answer to modifying Twitter’s in-house trends calculations. By selecting an updated trends location on Twitter, EDOs can discover which hashtags to use that will reach outside their current audience.

4. Curate hashtags specific to your community

Finally, even after EDOs perform their research, it’s always smart to check with local partners in order to determine the best hashtags to utilize. For example, an EDO’s tourism counterpart may have appropriate hashtags that would correspond with talent attraction efforts. In New Hampshire, the Division of Travel and Tourism Development’s signature hashtag, #LiveFreeNH, is also used by the Division of Economic Development for lifestyle messaging.

Other organizations, such as manufacturing groups, industry councils, local schools, etc., may even provide further insight into local hashtags that are valuable for use.

How have hashtags transformed your economic development marketing? What are your best practices for finding trending hashtags on Twitter? Let us know in the comments below or send us a tweet with the hashtag #MarketingPlaces at @aboutdci.

Kaitlin Lapka

Written by Kaitlin Lapka

Kaitlin Lapka is an Account Executive at DCI. Since joining DCI in 2016, she has worked for places of all sizes, from country to county, including the Netherlands, Texas, New Hampshire, Auckland, New Zealand and Dutchess County, New York.

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