This isn’t a new idea, but it’s remarkably successful and so, worth revisiting. Local television stations that are smart about using #hashtags on Twitter can build their audience and amplify their coverage.
That’s obvious when it comes to big events like Hurricane Sandy. By one count, there were 3.5 million tweets with the hashtag #sandy in one 24 hour period, when the storm was clobbering the East Coast.
But hashtags can also serve you well day in and day out.
Stephen Clark is a main anchor at WXYZ, the Scripps station in Detroit, who is the driving force behind the #backchannel, a Twitter conversation that’s been underway for a couple of years now. How did it get started? Here’s the way Clark tells it:
The #backchannel draws thousands of uniques every month, according to Chip Mahaney, senior director of local digital operations for E. W. Scripps. “It is a lively robust and significant conversation that wouldn’t have been built without the newscast, and they’ve leveraged that conversation into real world connections.
“I think it has grown their audience,” Mahaney said.
The bottom line? If you’re on Twitter, good for you. But if you’re not using #hashtags on a regular basis, you’re missing a bet.