Data Stories: 12 Tips to Track a Hashtag Campaign Effectively

Data Stories: 12 Tips to Track a Hashtag Campaign Effectively Kurt Weiss Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

To tell any story, you first need to have the facts straight first. To tell a story well, you need to communicate those facts in the most compelling fashion possible.

As social marketers, we don’t lack the facts. With so many channels offering different ways to engage and interact with your followers, there are social KPIs abound. The challenge lies in turning those data points into analysis that provides insights and creates a coherent narrative around your social activities.

How to Promote and Measure Hashtag Campaigns

Hashtag campaigns are excellent ways to create new organic conversations.  Along with those conversations however, comes an all new data set to understand.

When approaching analysis of a hashtag campaign, it’s important to demonstrate how that new conversation strengthens your brand’s social foundations and improves your competitive position. In order to prove that value, the new KPIs your hashtag generated must be reinforced by the larger social context of the brand, weaving a holistic story across earned media, owned media, and your competition.

Here are 12 steps to effectively track your hashtag campaign and create a compelling narrative around your success. For more insight, download our Complete Guide to Measuring and Promoting Hashtags.

1. Track Mentions

Assessing the volume of hashtag mentions is important, but understanding the breakdown of that activity by organic mentions, replies, and retweets is key. This will help you understand whether the hashtag is spreading like wildfire or if there are a few key influencers driving the conversation.

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This chart from Simply Measured’s Twitter Activity Report shows trended usage of a hashtag or keyword broken into Tweet types.

2. Identify Key Events

Use potential impressions to identify the most significant events in your campaign.

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This chart from Simply Measured’s Twitter Activity Report shows trended potential impressions driven by a hashtag or keyword, as well as the Tweets that drove the most impressions.

3. Identify Influencers

Nothing goes viral on it’s own. It’s important to identify the influencers who ushered the conversation along, whether they’re a known brand ambassador or a fan showing their love.

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This chart from Simply Measured’s Twitter Activity Report shows the top users engaging with a term based on a number of factors.

4. Engaging the Right Audience

Utilize Klout Topics to better understand the interests and make up of the audience engaging with you. What else are they interested in and how you can align those topics with your brand message in future campaigns?

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This chart from Simply Measured’s Twitter Audience Analysis Report shows the most popular Klout topics for any Twitter account’s audience.

5. Own the Conversation

As marketers, we work to create conversation that will influence the perception of our brands. What were the themes or goals you were hoping to align your brand with through your hashtag campaign?

You can create a simple Share of Voice by monitoring your brand and any competitors alongside mentions of that theme. For instance Hershey’s might set up a Share of Voice for “Hersheys + chocolate” vs “Cadbury + chocolate” vs “Nestle + chocolate”. This should be in place in advance of the campaign so you’re able to track the hashtag’s effect on the conversation and its impact on your brand’s influence around the conversation.

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This chart from Simply Measured’s Share of Influence Report shows the share of voice for several competitive terms.

6. Support Yourself

Make sure you understand the breakdown of engagement on your handle during the campaign. If your owned tweets have been effective, we should start to see increased activity during the campaign on your handle. What form is that taking? Retweets will help extend the reach of your hashtag, but maybe you were hoping to start a conversation through @replies?

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This chart from Simply Measured’s Twitter Account Report shows engagement types over time that a brand sees.

7. Layer on Sentiment

Staying relevant in the conversation is important, but to qualify the value of those mentions add in sentiment analysis to show the hashtag has reflected positively on your brand.

This chart from Simply Measured's Twitter Account Report with Sentiment shows a trended view of sentiment over time.
This chart from Simply Measured’s Twitter Account Report with Sentiment shows a trended view of sentiment over time.

8. Monitor Growth

You started the conversation, you engaged the right people to grow it, but did it generate new followers interested to hear what else you have to say?

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This chart from Simply Measured’s Twitter Account Report shows audience growth over time.

9. Put Engagement in Context

Nothing happens in a bubble. A hashtag campaign is a way to galvanize engagement around your brand, but how did that compare to what your competitors were doing over the same period?

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This chart from Simply Measured’s Twitter Competitive Analysis Report shows the trended engagement of multiple accounts.

10. Standing Ovation

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This chart from the Simply Measured Twitter Competitive Analysis Report shows total engagement and engagement as a percentage of followers for multiple accounts.

Total engagements tell an important story, but using a rate such as “engagement as % of followers” adds a new layer. Why have followers at all if you’re unable to activate them? Tracking engagement with this rate how well engaged your audience is and allows apples to apples comparisons with larger or aspirational competition.

11. Outgrow the Competition

The race for followers is rarely neck and neck. Growth rates help track towards those larger goals over time and you’ll see here the net affect of your hashtag efforts.

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This chart from the Simply Measured Twitter Competitive Analysis Report shows total audience and follower growth for multiple accounts.

12. Optimize Content

You asked your fans to share their voice through your hashtag, so what did they say and how did they say it? Amalgamate top content from the campaign and learn from your followers what makes a top post. Don’t stop there though. What was your own top post? What engaged well for your competition over the same period?

This table from the Simply Measured Twitter Account Report shows the top performing content from a given period.
This table from the Simply Measured Twitter Account Report shows the top performing content from a given period.

This is the story analysis should tell for any campaign your run. Your executives might want the abridged version for their report, but no matter what makes the final slides, your job is still to know the whole story and make each successive campaign better than the last.

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How to Promote and Measure Hashtag Campaigns

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