A word only recently added to the dictionary, the hashtag (#) has become an important feature of social media in recent years. A hashtag is a social media tagging system used to categorize content and deliver related search results. It involves a key word or phrase, without spaces or symbols, preceded by the hash sign. In networks that support hashtags, such as Twitter and Facebook, use of the symbol automatically transforms the content into a hyperlink. When someone clicks on the hyperlink, all other recent messages using the same hashtag will appear. Additionally, hashtags are viewable to anyone on the network, even if they aren’t following you.
Hashtags can help to increase brand awareness by creating and promoting conversations on social media. When someone clicks on a hashtag, they will see all other posts containing the same hashtag, potentially allowing you to reach out to a wider audience, including those who aren’t already following your profile. They help to encourage engagement by allowing people to find other relevant content and follow major trends with a single click.
Product-based hashtags have proven particularly powerful for raising awareness to promotions. Additionally, you may want to offer promotions to other social media users as a reward for including your hashtags in their own posts. They will also allow you to more effectively track the activity around promotions in progress, and you can use them to encourage people to participate in your product awareness campaigns.
Since hashtags help to generate conversation and categorize content, they can be a great way for seeking conversations specific to your business and its industry. By clicking on a hashtag, you’ll be able to see discussions carried out by customers, competitors and anyone else who is involved in your industry. Of course, some of the results might not be particularly relevant, but it does give you the opportunity to get hold of potentially useful information quickly.
Although capitalizing on popular hashtags can help raise awareness, there’s nothing stopping you from creating your own. As previously mentioned, you can use product-specific hashtags for promotional purposes, but you can also use them for promoting advertising slogans or new topics of conversation. In these cases, you’ll need to put some work into promoting the hashtag by having your marketing team include it in all relevant posts on social media.
Keeping track of relevant hashtags allows you to stay on top of the latest trends in your industry. Various digital marketing platforms, such as TweetDeck and HootSuite, allow you to organize popular hashtags into columns, providing you with invaluable insights into news affecting your niche. You can add and remove these columns to keep track of popular hashtags and remove them when they’re no longer popular and trending.
Hashtags undoubtedly provide an easy and effective way to categorize and find content as well as encourage engagement with your target audience. However, used incorrectly, hashtags can also hurt your business. Always keep your hashtags relevant, and avoid using too many to the extent that it hurts the readability of your posts.