Hashtag Hijacking Contest

What is Hashtag Hijacking? Using Trending Hashtags For More Exposure

Don’t use trending #Hashtags to get in front of an irrelevant audience.
That is spam and never recommended.

Simply put, we see trending Hashtags across the various social media websites and that means those trending topics are hot as far as search and interaction for that moment. For example, last week we seen #Oscars trending on Twitter. This weekend #DaylightSavings and #SpringForward dominated Google Plus search topics. Next week, #StPatricksDay will undoubtedly top the hashtag trends, at least for late Sunday and hopefully Monday.

A few quick links for finding trending topics and hashtags:

You’re NOT Being Dishonest, Disingenuous or Insincere

Hashtag Hijacking is not spam, not when done properly. The term has a slight negative connotation to it but Hashtag Hijacking is simply a creative way to relate our brand to a trending topic and expose that brand to those following that topic. If we were to just use the trending hashtag without creatively working our brand or message into the conversation where it actually makes sense, it would be viewed as spam. Be clever when hijacking trending hashtags and have fun with it.

Images Are A Must

We all understand the importance of using visual content within social media posts to draw attention to our message and that is just as true when it comes to trending hashtags. Take the time to create and use an amazing photograph or graphic that stands out and puts your message into context of the hashtag you’re using. Humor seems to work well with many hashtag hijacks, depending on the nature of the topic of course.

Hashtag Hijacking Examples

These are two images I played with this weekend on the trending hashtag #springforward for daylight savings time. Everyone else seemed to be posting clock photos and I wanted something a little more unique.

Twitter Example: The Twitter example is a huge fail as far as branding because I didn’t use anything, including a link, bringing it back to my blog.

Google Plus Example: This image was used along with the message, “An hour you deserved but wasn’t served. Spring Forward and Blog Hard!” As of this writing, that post generated 3 reshares, 15 +1s, 7 comments and 17 unique clickthroughs to our VIP List page.


Creativity: I’m betting #StPatricksDay has very little to do with your brand. That’s the fun part, where your imagination takes hold and you blow our minds with amazing brand relevance and inspiring stories.

It does no good to copy trending hashtags into an irrelevant post or tweet; it must relate and make people take some sort of action to be effective.

Over To You

I’d love your to hear your ideas and examples of hashtag hijacking. Do you think it’s an effective method of exposing your brand with a wider reach? Does the trending topic matter? I mean, if I’m an electrician, does it actually make sense to create a message in the context of Fergie and Black Eyed Peas, for example? It would, on the other hand, be a simple matter to use today’s trending hashtag of #firstdayofspring and gain more exposure for a brand like that. I’d love your comments and questions, that’s what I’m here for.

About Brian D. Hawkins

Blogging superhero by day and internet super villain by night. Blogger, future online millionaire and an all around great guy.


  1. Nice post, i will try it myself and i think i could manage it, you mentioned Twitter, Pin, and G+, but you didn’t mention Facebook. Why is that? Is the hashtags at Facebook are not useful? I am using them in my almost all posts? I am not sure how it helps but i think they are also effective at some extant.

  2. What sort of competition that is.It’s still makes no sense to me and I”m having a laugh.Now that makes me look sick.

  3. Create an image and message on your favorite social media platform using the #StPatricksDay hashtag. Use your imagination and create a message that fits your brand into the holiday spirit.

  4. Hi Sid, Facebook is good. Any network you have an audience and uses hashtags will work. Instagram would work as well but you can’t leave a link on Instagram.

    I believe hashtags can be a powerful tool when used correctly. That’s the point in this contest; to introduce bloggers to the concept and help use hashtags correctly.

  5. Is the contest still ongoing or just a one-day event?

  6. Ajay Singh says

    ok never used #tags but after giving them a try today i got not big but good result.
    Thanks to you
    How to use them exactly and properly??

  7. The contest is wide open through Monday David. I’ve done almost nothing oline all week so it’s had little response. It looks like the odds are in your favor if you decide to take on the challenge. 🙂

  8. You’re going to have to actually read the post to leave a link Ajay. Seriosly, it’s litteraly just a few minutes and I even read it to you.

  9. Hello Brain Sir,
    That was indeed most useful post for understanding how this hashtag works. I personally experienced using hashtags in facebook and found a lot of exposure.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  10. Loved hashtag hijacking , Generally i don’t try to brand on google+ . Twitter and Pinrest are good but Pinrest is not worth wasting time . For Branding i think Facebook and Twitter are best because of lot’s of trolls who wonder on twitter .

  11. Hello Brian,

    I think from a business point of view, you can search for hashtags that are relevant to your business or your target audience and the people who are using these hashtags are probably the key people in the industry. But, because of abusing this system, Twitter is thinking to get rid of #hashtag and @replies both!

  12. I have a question i’ve been meaning to ask since a long time, How is the Twitter authority calculated? Number of followers?

  13. I guess that depends on who’s gauging the authority Samantha. Ideally it’s your followers and hopefully they consider you an authority within your niche. That’s really all that matters. You can have hundred thousand Twitter followers and every single one of them not even know you exist; that’s just useless numbers that mean nothing but a bunch of wasted time. On the other hand, several hundred engaged followers that trust and respect you and your brand can have a huge effect on your overall impact. That’s exactly why I blog so often about trust, authority and influence; without those, numbers are pointless.

  14. I think it depends where your market is Sam and how you engage with them. Be where your market is and become part of that community in an authoritive manor.

  15. Careful not to spread rumors Worli. I’ve heard none of this and I’m sure Twitter would suffer greatly without @replies. With that said, I’m certainly not suggesting anyone abuse the system. A little creativity and fun can bring most social events and many trending hashtags relevant to your business or your target audience.

  16. Totally agree with you Brian! Without hashtags and @replies Twitter would greatly suffer. But, here are the news from the reliable sources:


  17. Thanks Worli, I appreciate you leaving those links. I’m reading it differently though. It sounds like Twitter might drop the hashtag and @Reply from the main screen (form) but allow them the run in the background; similar to meta data on our blogs. They would still work but be unseen like Circles of Google Plus. I’m just guessing because it’s not clear yet. I guess we’ll need to stand by and see if Twitter cuts its own feet off. 😉

  18. Hello Brian,

    I never thought that these hashtags can work in this manner as well. And most of all they are completely legal. And they way you represent it with good example, helps me understand this thing.

    A very warm Thank You from my side.

  19. Sai Krishna says

    Not only twitter, Facebook also now allowing hashtags. I think same game can be played in Facebook, according to some proofs facebook works great than twitter to generate traffic. What do you think about facebook hastags? are they not useful?

  20. Hey Brian,

    I guess I just never think about searching for what’s trending before I write a post. Now I’ve been trying to pay attention to what some of the influencers that I look up to are writing about so that I can possibly add my own spin of things into the mixture so I have done some of that.

    I swear I’ve just never been a big hashtag user although I really am trying. I think someone needs to do a class or something about it so that I can wake up and finally “get it” ya know. There are some things that I just find myself behind with and this is definitely one of them.

    Thanks for these examples and I saw the picture with the car. I thought that was hilarious. It is for me, we don’t get snow!

    Have a great week Brian.


  21. Hey Brain,

    Wonderful article on hashtags. I have been using a lot of hashtags of Twitter lately and have seen a little rise in my Twitter connections. The rise is slow and am waiting to see the results.

    The examples you’ve shown are brilliant.

    BTW, I have not used the @replies so much till now but I think it’s time to leverage the opportunity to reach out to influencers.

  22. Absolutely Sai, I mentioned that in the post. Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and Pinterest are the main social sites but any using hashtags could be useful. Keep in mind the that same hashtags are not necessarily trending across every network on any particular day.

  23. Hi Adrienne, I wouldn’t worry about checking social trends daily. I look for major events and try to work an image into it if I can, but only for relevant topics. Like yesterday was Opening Day (baseball) and I just tweeted, “A 60 degree #OpeningDay in Michigan. A great (but late) start to spring. Have a great new week. :)”. I wanted to create a little image to go with that but I was running late. That just opens up a little conversation with people I wouldn’t have otherwise connected with because we’re not following one another. It would have been better to bring it closer to blogging and online business so we had more in common but I was just happy to see nice weather for change.

  24. Thanks Mainak, I’d be careful using @relpies for anything other that conversation. Using in to “tag” people is not appropriate. with that said, Twitter is all about conversation and it’s important to remember to be social. Just sending links every time, especially our own, is pointless and few will follow and no one pay attention.

  25. Hey Brian,
    Honestly, I didn’t know about this Twitter hack, if you allow me to call it a hack. I’m a very social person in real life, but on the internet, I don’t where the hell go all my social skills. Using hashtags for increased connections, good interactions, and probably some target traffic to your blog is something I never thought of.
    You showed me the way. I must show you my gratitude. Thank you! 🙂

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.