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.