All social media platforms are humming with hashtags. Brands are using it; people are using it. Some are misusing it; some are benefitting from it.
Let’s understand more about hashtags and how to make use of them in a more effective manner.
What is a Hashtag (#)?
Hashtags are basically keywords which are searchable links. Hashtags are created by using “#” followed by any word/phrases without any space between them ex: #TravelPhotography or #PhotoOfTheDay or #BerlinChristmas etc. It is a way to unite and tag posts/videos/content about particular topic by using phrases/words.
Benefits of Using a Hashtag (#)
Discover relevant content and participate in discussions that are important to you:
If someone searches for #TravelPhotography on any of social media platforms viz Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, etc they will see all the content tagged to this hashtag.
If someone clicks on the #TravelPhotography they will get to see all content tagged to this hashtag
Classify social media posts according to a topic or objective
Monitor your brand/event/products on social media platforms
Understand what customers’ sentiments- positive or negative about your business, etc
Engage with fans/influencers real time during live events like Olympics, Award shows, conferences etc.
Connect with other people interested in the same topic
Create a social media campaign with specific CTAs (call to actions)
Accentuate Brand awareness
Trending hashtags makes brands understand what people are talking about, help them uncover latest trends.
Brands can discover quality UGC (user generated content) which can prove to be of great utility
Key Hashtag Marketing Strategies
Market your business/ Brand awareness-
Brand hashtags are unique to the business and should be used in all the original content being shared by the brand. Using your brand name/unique name (slogan) as a hashtag enables people to click on it to find all content about your brand. It also provides the easiest measurement of ‘success’ – more brand mentions/more hash tag mentions mean more awareness. It also implies that users are thinking about the brand. Brands should use it to build conversation about their products and offerings and encourage users to know more about the product. Some brands get a little smarter and use their brand tagline as their hashtag – KitKat’s #haveabreak (and more social #mybreak) are great examples of this. Brands can do a small contest to fuel top of the mind recall and awareness by just asking users to share the post/tweet/content on social media with brand hashtag. This will definitely increase engagement, awareness and top of the mind recall.
Campaign specific hashtags/ Call to action (CTA) hashtags-
The objective of such hashtags is to facilitate certain action, better if involving the brand, viz. “share”, “talk”, “upload”, etc. For example, #ShareACoke or #PutACanOnIt by Redbull. People feel sense of participation, feels it is fun and sense of contribution. And when there is some social related cause, sense of participation increases manifold times for example, #BeatCancer by Livestrong.
When a lot of users include a specific hashtag in their posts, it “trends.” Trending hashtags can last for days or just few minutes, Platforms like Facebook and Twitter provides the latest trending hashtags. Brands can engage audiences using these trending topics of discussions if they feel it is related to their brand. It is very topical in nature and have to be executed pretty cautiously because this can backfire too. By using more generic hashtags like #throwbackthursday or #travelphotography etc brands also bring a human touch. This at times can go terribly wrong also.
Content Classification and Monitoring-
Tagging content and classifying them into various segments not only helps to find the most relevant customers for that particular content it also helps in better monitoring and analysing the success of content. It is done primarily from the perspective of optimizing for search. It is pretty useful for businesses who are location specific, sell physical products, live events/conferences, For example, #CleanEating.
RULES FOR CHOOSING YOUR HASHTAG
Keep it short and simple
Make sense of the hashtag
Be consistent in using the same hashtag
Use it everywhere
Make it catchy so that it becomes memorable
Don't just use the brand name
Make sure it is relevant to your brand
Do proper research
Location specific businesses can leverage location hashtags
Try to piggyback on existing hashtags/trends, but tread carefully 🙂
In my next post we will see what are some of the best practices which brands are employing with respect to hashtags with respect to various social media platforms.
Let me know what you guys think about the same in the comments section below.
Top tools to measure Hashtags
Topdef.com- This tool provides an explanation what popular hashtags mean. For example, #ff means follow friday, #yolo means you live only once.
Trendsmap.com- This tool provides real time trending hashtags based on location. However, it is only limited to Twitter.
Hashtags.org- This tool searches for any hashtags and provides the analytics of that particular hashtag.
And this list is endless. You can always find tools and resources that fits your requirements. Some of them will be paid, some will be free, some might be on freemium model.