#Debate, #Debates, #DebateNight, or #Debates2016?October 11, 2016
Sunday night’s debate produced a clear bipartisan winner.
Among the 700,000+ tweets analyzed by Zoomph during the second presidential debate, #Debates was the uncontested winner of hashtags, earning ~57% share-of-voice.
Twitter’s official hashtag, #Debate, ended the night as runner-up with ~13% share-of-voice.
While only two hashtags were dubbed Twitter’s official elections hashtags, other unofficial hashtags have surfaced–confusing some, and influencing others to challenge the notion of what’s considered the appropriate number of hashtags to stuff into one tweet.
— DK Matai (@DKMatai) October 9, 2016
If you’re also wondering which hashtag you should use, or whether to overload on hashtags versus pick one on the fly (insert meme of #FliesForHillary), Zoomph’s Hashtag Comparison tool provides some clarity. To a degree, it addresses that question that’s been nagging at the back of our minds–why the heck are there so many debate hashtags?
Quick Debate Hashtag Facts
- In late September, Twitter initially launched #Debates & #Debates2016 jointly with the Commission on Presidential Debates to foster early discourse around the elections
- However, Zoomph’s Content Discovery confirms that the singular “debate” is more often used in regular conversation, especially during live event coverage, allowing users to easily fold in the hashtag mid-sentence
- Still, the official #Debates tag is favored among verified Twitter users, like @WayneDupreeShow, @FoxNews & @DrJillStein–the top three #Debates influencers (after @Twitter) during Sunday’s debate
- To date, the top most-influential tweet exclusively associated with #Debates is:
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) October 10, 2016
- During the debate, #Debate was tweeted at a rate of 51 times per minute, versus #Debates at 7 times per minute
- #Debate also had the widest reach into Canada, according to Zoomph Geo
- In the aftermath of the debate, #Debate is now being tweeted at a rate of 6 times per second, versus #Debates at 66 per minute
Why the heck does any of this matter?
Glad you asked. (A) Hashtags can significantly boost the visibility of your posts so they’re a pretty big deal. Some may even agree that hashtags are to social media as keywords are to SEO. (B) Trending hashtags can get you in front of the right audiences, if selected carefully and used tastefully.
While we don’t recommend spending hours pouring over potential hashtag options, we suggest that you take a second look at the hashtags you’re using on a day-to-day or weekly basis.
After all, you’ve probably witnessed how hopping onto a popular audience won’t equate to instant virality, or even good exposure.
Our advice? Double check that any hashtag (trending or branded) aligns with your company values and/or your goals. Run a quick hashtag comparison to see who the hashtag’s reaching and how, and to understand how social content is being categorized by other users on Twitter.
In our elections example, #debate might appeal to you because of its popularity and reach, but consider it’s broadness and the stiff competition surrounding it.
A second after posting your #debate tweet, your tweet might be drowned out by 5 other #debate-tagged tweets, according to the rate-of-tweet we observed. Conversely, a less-dominant and more specific tag may serve you better.
In another instance, if you’re aiming to reach more news media or pundits, you might benefit from using Twitter’s #Debates hashtag, a favorite among verified handles.
What to Look Out For
As evidenced, not all hashtags are born equal. When performing quick research on the hashtags you want to use, consider these characteristics:
- Sentiment: Does the hashtag incite positive or negative reactions/publicity?
- Popularity: How often is the hashtag being used, and when?
- Context: Fire up a hashtag search and preview the content its attracting. How is the hashtag being used by others in your networks? Is it connected to a particular topic, or a real-time event?
- Relevance: Given the context behind the tag, does this tag still relate to your brand? How will you use the tag so that you’re adding substance to the conversation?
- Reach: Where is the hashtag being used, and what demographics is it resonating with?
- Influence: How much traction is the hashtag getting among your target audience? Who are the top influencers driving the tide of conversation?