How to pick the perfect #Election hashtag

I had a client ask an interesting question today. When it comes to election day hashtags, how broad or how regionally specific should we get? Everyone is using #Election, #Election2016 and #ElectionDay. But if you use them too, are your tweets lost in the noise?

On the other hand, if you use regionally specific hashtags, will anyone notice? Or will any of your viewers know to use them too?

The proper answer to this question is that successful hashtagging comes from preparation. If you have a station specific hashtag that you want your viewers to use on election night, you should have been promoting it for a week already. If you haven’t been, get on that now! We’re talking about hashtags like #[postalcode]Votes, #Election[state] or #Election[call-letters].

When all is said and done, how do you know which hashtags to use on the fly? My answer: as many as you can cram inside your tweet, that’s how many.

Quick Post

First, create a Quick Post with ALL the hashtags in it, ranked from left to right on how brand specific they are to how vague they might be (so everything from #[postalcode]election to #ElectionDay). This is subjective. Use your best judgement, you can’t really be wrong here.

Just smash 'em all in there and save it as a Quick Post
Just smash ’em all in there and save it as a Quick Post

Now, when it’s time to tweet something “electiony,” go to your Quick Post and enter your message and link at the head of the tweet. If you run out of characters, just start deleting from the end. For that reason, it’s best to save your Quick Posts with hashtags in order of least to most obscure.

Goodbye "#Decision2016," no room for you here
Goodbye “#Decision2016,” no room for you here

Monitor your Hashtags

Furthermore, I recommend creating separate Twitter feeds on your Dashboard: one to monitor broad/generic hashtags, one to monitor station/market specific hashtags. That way the local stuff won’t get lost in the noise and you can still keep an eye on what’s up around the nation.

Two hashtag feeds, both alike in dignity...
Two hashtag feeds, both alike in dignity…

Good luck out there, people, it’s the home stretch. We’d love to see how you’re using Social News Desk on election night! Tweet your photos to @SocialNewsDesk and @RMorrisSND.