How to get your hashtag to trend on Twitter

“Janet, you’re trending on Twitter.”

When this post appeared in my Facebook group last week, I thought it was a joke. So much so, I went out to the theatre and forgot about it.

But when I checked my phone, later that evening, I’d been messaged at least half a dozen screenshots. My #soulfulpr hashtag was  trending – right up there with the Golden Globe Awards.

The following afternoon #soulfulpr was trending again – up the with #fridaythe13th and #Tristram Hunt MP (who had just resigned). 

Now I’m no social media expert – and the algorithm that determines which Twitter hashtags are trending is a mystery to most – but from what I do know, these were the most influential factors on the day:

  • I hosted a webinar between 2-3pm on both days. This webinar had over 1.1k registrations and 400 live participants. I asked them to tweet during the webinar, using the #soulfulpr hashtag
  • I offered a prize to the most engaged ‘tweeter’: a bundle of #soulfulpr goodies, including my book, media diary, notebook and mug.
  • I created a pinned tweet (including the hashtag) which I posted a few hours before the webinar. This had 42 likes, 19 shares and 2,705 impressions (how many times your tweets have loaded on a screen).

  • I posted about the webinar in my Facebook group ahead of the webinar and shared the hashtag with members who said they were coming along.
  • I told Day 2 attendees that #soulfulpr had been trending on Twitter the previous day (I even added one of the screenshots onto my slide) and asked them to help me get it trending again. About half an hour into the webinar, one of the attendees posted to say #soulfulpr was trending. During the first webinar, I earned 13,143 impressions and during the second 13, 379  (despite there being 100 less attendees on the webinar)
  • I asked my assistant Jo to engage on Twitter during the webinar – replying to tweets and retweeting (from my account).  On both days I had at least five times the engagement I normally do (likes, retweets and, replies). I also picked up a couple of hundred new followers.

But although I did a number of key things on the day to boost engagement,  I believe that my activities before the day – and I mean years before – are much more significant. Here’s what I’ve done over the past three years:

  • Published regular content on my blog, podcast and social media. This has helped me attract: 18.4 followers, 12.5k email subscribers, 5.5k Facebook group members, 2.5k likes on my Facebook page and around 2k followers on Instagram. Without that, I wouldn’t have had so many registrants on that webinar – and live participants on the day
  • Written and published a book – which has helped me gain credibility and trust with my audience
  • Created a media diary to help with PR planning
Publishing a book and media diary has helped me build my audience
  • Invested in Facebook advertising (this has helped me add over 3k members to my email list in the last six months)
  • Delivered value in a Facebook group daily: answering members’ questions, sharing useful content and organising weekly social media events to help members get more likes, comments and follows (and commenting on as many social media accounts as I can)
  • Run dozens of live events. I ran 16 live events last year, which has helped me build personal relationships and gain trust with an audience that was willing to get behind me on the day 
I ran sixteen live events in 2016
  • Delivered value as a speaker at key industry events. I’ve shared my knowledge at New Media Europe and Social Day. This year I’m speaking at The Content Marketing Academy
  • Hosted dozens of free webinars on PR and writing for the media
  • Attended dozens of live events like Chris Ducker’s Tropical Think Tank, The Content Marketing Academy and New Media Europe as a delegate, where I’ve  made connections with fellow business owners who were willing to get behind me on the day. This has cost me thousands – not just for the training itself, but also for travel, hotels and other expense. It has been worth every penny. 
Learning with content marketing experts Marcus Sheridan and Chris Marr in November 2016

Invested in online training and membership communities. I’ve bought online courses on everything from blogging to Instagram Marketing to (the next social media platform I want to conquer) Pinterest. I’m a Youpreneur and Content Marketing Academy member – my business ‘family’ – some of whom also attended the webinars and got behind me on the day.

Why am I telling you this?

I share this because I want to remind you that there are no quick fixes in PR/marketing. While you do hear of the odd hashtag, tweet or article that goes viral, for most of us, building an audience involves months – or even years – of creating content and delivering value to your audience, every single day.

So please keep serving your audience by creating those blog posts, social media updates and email newsletters – even when it feels like no-one is listening (and, believe me, I’ve been there).

Invest in your own learning and development (choose wisely and you will see a return on your investment).

Find your ‘business family.’ Surround yourself with people who are on their same path and commit to helping them grow. Share their blog posts, comment on their Facebook pages, be the first person to sign up for their newsletter…whatever you can do to help them build their audience. Do this every day and you’ll never be short of people to help you grow yours.



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