Earlier this year, I wrote about how effective social media marketing requires a little bit of LOST’s John Locke and Jack Shepherd.
The show’s lead characters were so similar, but so different. Locke was a man of faith, whereas Shepherd was a man of science.
One specific instance where this is increasingly true is in Twitter hashtags.
Hashtags keep Twitter organized. They allow you to stream keywords and phrases. They make Twitter easier to consume.
They also make it easy to measure Twitter.
There are many tools that measure hashtags (with TweetReach being my favorite right now).
So where does faith vs. science come into play here?
Easily: How do you choose a hashtag?
Hashtag of Science
Your hashtag is unique and true. It accurately portrays exactly what the conversation should be about, either spelled out or as an acronym.
#ESR1256 doesn’t scare you as a hashtag.
You know that you can accurately measure the traffic on the hashtag to gain a real picture of conversations around your topic. Even if the hashtag is difficult to remember, you are OK with that, because it means you’ll get next to zero erroneous messages.
Hashtag of Faith
You want people to stumble upon your conversation.
Quoting the Jackson 5: “I wanna be where you are…oh ah oh!”
You are comfortable using a hashtag that may be used by other people, since it means more people will potentially see your content.
When to be Scientific
The “scientific” hashtags work brilliantly at events where you have a captive audience. Conferences, classes, assemblies…and even TV and radio shows. They also work well with strong communications and advertising campaigns.
When you can easily communicate how your audience should contact them, the easier it will be for them to remember the hashtag, even if it’s a bit quirky.
When to have Faith
When you are trying to flood a message out, using a relevant hashtag people are using makes the most sense.
Relevant being the key word: don’t post to #music when you want to talk about paintings. Unless a musician did the painting.
Think of it as a less-annoying version of interruption marketing, since the people you would be “targeting” are already interested in the topic at hand.
In measurement, you may get some additional, non-related posts, but that’s a risk you’re willing to take.