Hashtags: Art of the Dual Wield

Tyler Tullis
Senior Account Executive

Oct 17, 2016

WHEN HALO 2 LAUNCHED on the original Xbox, Master Chief, the series’ gun-toting protagonist, was given the ability to hold not only one, but TWO guns when hunting the alien Covenant and other players.

The technique was dubbed “Dual Wielding” and those words still sound as cool as they did in 2004.

So. Cool. 

So, what does Halo 2 and Dual Wielding have to do with increasing engagement with your brand over social media?

One of the most common questions I get in social media trainings is, “How do I get my posts in front of more users?” After all–Facebook in particular is making it tougher for content from brands to be seen, sinking them lower in the newsfeed algorithm.

Hashtags are low-hanging fruit to tap into wider, trending, timely conversations happening on social platforms. That’s all hashtags are, of course–a way to categorize conversation topics. The hashtags featured most in posts, trend.

This can be done tastelessly and tastefully from brands. Examples:



This is newsjacking, as coined by David Meerman Scott, and it’s as offensive as it is inappropriate. This is a great way to start a crisis and set your brand on fire. Don’t do it.


Remember the power outage at Super Bowl XLVII?

This is a fun way to surprise and delight your followers, showing that you get the “social” in social media. It makes brands accessible and reinforces amicability, if that’s one of your brand attributes.

But wait–did you notice what Tide did? They used a trending hashtag to tap into a wider conversation stream, and also used a hashtag proprietary to their brand.

This, my friends, is Dual Wielding with hashtags.

It’s a simple way to pair a brand promotion, event or milestone with a relevant trending topic, and it has the potential to expose your brand, promotion, event or milestone to a large (or huge) audience surfing a trend.

Many trending topics live but for a fleeting moment, often coming and going faster than a 24-hour news cycle. Jumping on these trending topics takes a quick wit, but you can also plan for them based on upcoming holidays or events, like this Tweet from Oreo.

You can also tap into perennial hashtags, like our friends at Ecova, targeting the industry-specific term #ZeroWaste for their #EcovaInsight conference:

This, my friends, is Dual Wielding with hashtags. And don’t forget, there are platforms to show you which hashtags are trending day-to-day, like SproutSocial.

So remember the Art of the Dual Wield. It’s a simple concept, but we actually don’t observe brands using this pairing as often as they should. If you can find a tasteful way to inject your brand promotion into a relevant trending topic, do it!

For laughs / cringes, here are a few more horrifying examples of newsjacking gone wrong. #Beware


Related Articles:

8 Tips for Writing an Op Ed: Join the Conversation in 2020

8 Tips for Writing an Op Ed: Join the Conversation in 2020

Amid perhaps the most tumultuous year in modern American society, organizations of all types have new opportunity as trusted messengers to ... Read More

A leadership exercise — seeing the whole picture.

A leadership exercise — seeing the whole picture.

In early March I attended the Emerging Leaders Conference in Boston along with DH Partner Andrei Mylroie and Senior Account Executive Shireen ... Read More

Digital Marketing Statistics Shaping 2019

Digital Marketing Statistics Shaping 2019

I recently posted a blog summarizing the biggest ideas I took away from this year’s Digital Summit event. I’ve since received several questions ... Read More

Send this to a friend