Retailers, both online and offline, often ask us how to increase the visibility of sales.
As we approach the festive period and the inevitable New Year sales that follow, you'll see a mass of retailers promoting end of line or old season stocks at reduced prices.
The traditional clear-out of goods not sold will begin and the clamour for shoppers attention will be at fever pitch.
With that in mind, the task of ensuring you capture the attention of potential customers grows even harder.
An obvious area for social media promotion is through clever use of hashtags.
What we tend to see is that most retailers, or at least most of those that understand the value of hashtags on Twitter and other social media platforms, limit themselves to the mainstream categorisation of the #sale hashtag.
The potential beyond this, and with it the market you might otherwise miss, is substantial. So, we've been monitoring the most actively used and alternative hashtags for getting your message through.
Don't forget that all hashtags are best used in combination, spread across tweets and are a tool that can be used to support each other. What you won't reach through one hashtag, you'll open a path to with one of its alternatives.
#sale - 10,000 tweets per day average
The stalwart of the Twitter campaigner, #sale remains ever popular with a collosal 10,000 tweets per day on average. Quite how effective these are in reaching their target audience may be questionable though. The problem is that #sale is being increasingly used by other sectors. Property/real estate sales, cars for sale, you name it. It still offers a platform for visibility, but its effectiveness is more diluted today than ever before.
#deal - 9,700 tweets per day average
This hashtag might surprise you with its popularity. It's an alternative that few retailers actually turn to, with much of its use being related to restaurant and drinks deals. They're not the biggest users of it though - that accolade belongs to the "Deal" websites. We've all seen them, they collate the best 'deals' online and bring them to you in a central point.
That in itself can be turned into an advantage though, because if you do opt to use #deal you give your offer an audience that is used to looking for deals, not to mention the deal aggregating sites themselves.
#offer - 550 tweets per day average
The littlest used of our collection, #offer has opportunities that few exploit. Whilst limited in actual use, its potential is undeniable. UK audiences are used to 'offers' and its worth shouldn't be underestimated.
It could be argued that its visibility can be leveraged to your advantage too, as the lower volume of content you're competing with is a bonus in itself.
#discount - 4,400 tweets per day average
Consumers love discounts. In fact the word itself remains hugely searched for on Twitter, so seeing it used on many more tweets over the last 12 months is understandable.
It gives an interesting alternative to the traditional #sale tag and can be particularly successful in being picked up by the many aggregating websites we've already mentioned.
Its also quite powerful in its literal interpretation. It isn't a hashtag that leaves any room for doubt about what is being offered.
#bargain - 2,500 tweets per day average
People love a bargain. They also like the word. This one has been growing steadily in use and again it is a common term for aggregating sites to look for.
Its also handy in that it is a less 'sale' generic. You could use it for all manner of promotions, not just those that may be of limited time or campaign specific.
Ultimately, it's another word to vary the scope you assign to your tweets, as well as giving another path to an extended audience.
#save - 3,200 tweets per day average
You've got to be careful in your use of this one, but it does work well for search variation.
It, like the #sale tag, is now being used by all manner of tweeters. Go and look for it now and you'll find everyone from the tourist industry to restaurants and banks are using it.
Its sheer breadth of use brings exposure advantages too though. It's another alternative to vary your posting style and construction, whilst opening up a section of audience you might not otherwise have connected with.
#coupon - 4,900 tweets per day average
If you're not going to be promoting a campaign on the basis of coupon redemption then don't be tempted to use this. If you are, it gives you the chance to get your message across to consumers and deal aggregators alike.
Coupon is widely searched, tweeted and retweeted. If you're running any form of coupon, voucher or ticket related sales campaign - it's a must use.
#voucher - 1,500 tweets per day average
We were surprised to see the #voucher tag get much less use than its coupon friend. The basis of use and potential remains good though, and it's a more commonly used term in the UK than in the USA.
Plus, it gives you a viable word alternative. A re-tweet of your offer and tagging it with #voucher after you'd previously tagged it with #coupon means you've made the best of both.
#promo - 10,400 tweets per day average
This hashtag has never been more popular. It's use is now nothing short of spectactular. Unfortunately the end results might not be.
We see #promo and its stablemate #promotion used in conjunction with everything and anything. There's a lot of use in the music sectors and whilst we would never deny it appears to be incredibly well searched, it does seem to mean tweets that use it get lost in a mass of lower quality posts.
There are few hashtags that can compete with its volume of use, search volume and it appears to be a well retweeted tag too.
#shopping - 14,600 tweets per day average
Not sales related? We'd agree. The #shopping tag is much more generic.
Nonetheless, it's a must-use tag is you're going to combine and build tweets to support a campaign.
The volume it exposes your posts to is greater than any other loosely connected phrase and if your audience is female then it's a leading hashtag for attracting your consumers.