You’re at a startup event in your area.
Bouncing from booth to booth, you can’t remember which one is which. Despite some innovative ideas and attractive people vying for your attention, you find that it becomes tiring to take in.
Being a tech enthusiast, you try to remember everything and everyone as you are searching for the next big thing before it goes mainstream. But it’s difficult when there are so many products, concepts, prototypes, offers, brands, banners, and even the swag begins to look more and more similar.
But then something different happens....
You approach a booth that has people jumping on trampolines.
Standing there watching the action, you casually inquire about their company. They soon invite you to jump, or as they say, “launch.” While jumping up and down, they snap your picture and post it onto their social media along with a hashtag. #launch
You tell them it’s ok to tag you, you check your phone and immediately like, retweet and favourite the photo, and you follow them for good measure.
You walk about with a different impression of this company, and out of all the startups you met, they seem the easiest to remember. You won’t forget about them anytime soon, and there is a chance that you will do a bit more online research about them when you get home. All that from just jumping on a trampoline?
Well, there’s more to it than you might think.
You might have noticed #hashtags have overtaken social media marketing.
From their introduction in 2007 by Twitter, that good old ‘number’ symbol has slowly crept up as one of society’s most used symbols. Today people even verbally use the word ‘hashtag’ in conversation when they want to make an emphasis on something.
Hashtags not only assist users through posts with similar interests (#entrepreneurship), but also help promote events and branding (#LAGreenFest). They can support social and political movements (#allblacklivesmatter), and identify the latest trends and news stories (#iOS9, #trump).
That being said, the amount of hashtags out there makes them nearly indistinguishable from one another. Because of this, it’s difficult to create original hashtags that can launch a unique marketing campaign for your startup. Hashtags can even put your company’s PR at risk if poorly constructed hashtags see the light of the news feed. (checkout #McDStories for how not to hashtag).
It’s becoming so important to create more of a connection between your company and its social media presence.
So here’s what I suggest... create a human hashtag instead.
A human hashtag is a visual display of something that people do.
It can be a physical act that can be duplicated, which you can then post to all social media sites in a photo or video format. Whether it be a hand gesture, an action, or a repeated way of tilting your head, you can create a recognizable image that can be repeated and reposted by your fans and followers.
The best ones are those that require an actionable step. Take the Ice Bucket Challenge that stormed social media in 2014. It called for users to do something creative and fun, such as pouring ice cold water on themselves, while raising awareness and money for a charitable foundation.
Make your startup stand out. Create a visual human hashtag. Be creative, make it fun, unique, quirky, and watch your trends take off.