When hashtags first emerged they were seen as only for geeks. The rumblings and rumours suggested that they would never catch on. But they did. Twitter was the first social network that adopted this strange habit in 2007.
Today the hashtag is used almost everywhere. They are even now appearing on TV, billboards and on the backs of buses!
But identifying the right hashtag is complex when it comes to social engagement and monitoring. It allows us to search conversations where our target customers mostly hang out. When you want to reach a large audience by launching a visual social campaign, then you can use hashtags. It seems like a pound symbol (#), but it is a powerful way to improve your reach to your target audience across different social media platforms.
Facebook was a slow adopter
It took some time for the social media giant Facebook to give in to the hashtag trend and it was dragged kicking and screaming into the hashtag fray in June 2013. But now this little symbol connects conversations on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, YouTube, and Google+.
Here is the figure displaying the name of the social media networks that allows the use of hashtags for improving conversations with the target audiences:
The caption represented using the hashtag might contain any number of descriptive words, but words with hashtags specifically refer to the overall theme of the post. For example, if you want to share your picture of riding a bicycle in CP, New Delhi, you can share this picture using the hashtag and adding a little description like this:
“#Me on my #bicycle in #CP, New Delhi”
Using hashtags in front of words for explaining the picture helps in drawing the attention of the audiences towards you and your bicycle.
Important tactics for using hashtags in content
Using hashtags efficiently in social media content is a bit confusing for many social media marketers. You need to know the important tactics required for using these little symbols successfully.
Hashtags offer a vital link between digital marketing and communication.
Therefore, if you are aware of the strategies required for successfully using hashtags in your social media content, you can establish long term relationships with your target audience. This long term approach will eventually bring remarkable outcomes.
Here are 5 expert tips for marketing with hashtags.
1. Categorize your brand’s messages using hashtags
Hashtags have launched a new way of defining and categorizing topics of conversation over social media sites so that the audience can track down the posts related to an event or a group they were interested in. Hence, they are ideal for classifying the content, whether the posts are related to an imminent conference of your business or the products or services offered by your company.
When you upload the social media content, you can use the hashtags for describing its purpose and for adding value to what it is going to offer to the audience. Delineating posts using the hashtags help in promoting your business brand content.
Here is an example of Dairy Queen, which has labeled its Tumblr page posts using tags like #DairyQueens and #LoveMyDQ and it has also used the hashtags with its menu item flavors such as #chocolate, #Pumpkinpie, and #Cake for defining its branding pictures, animated graphics, videos in a better way. It will help its consumers find their social media content easily.
2. Expand your content reach
Hashtag not only helps in categorizing and describing your social media content, but it also helps in expanding the reach of your brand on a wider spectrum. By employing popular hashtags, which are commonly searched by the audience, you will significantly improve the visibility and sharing of your content.
Here is an example of Burt’s Bee, which has successfully attracted the attention of its audience to its latest #6SecondClassics branded videos by tweeting the clips with specific hashtags related to this campaign.
The popular hashtag used by this brand is #classic, which has helped Burt’s bee in expanding their reach among their audience.
Another example is Ford Fiesta, which has implemented the same strategy on Instagram. It has successfully complemented #FiestaMovement tag used for its cross country pictures of Ford Fiesta with famous hashtags like #Florida, #travel, and #malibu.
3. Start a topic trend with hashtags
While most of the popular hashtags used by you in your social media content help in increasing its visibility among the audience, they can also give you an opportunity to display your brand’s creativity. You can use the popular hashtags for defining your brand’s pictures over social media sites. One such example is Ben & Jerry, who have wisely adopted the “SharkWeek” hashtags of Discovery Channel in an attempt to capitalize the attention of the audience created by this weeklong TV program. Famous hashtags such as #SharkAfterDar, #Megalodon, and # SharkWeek were used for attracting the attention towards the shark themed posts of Ben & Jerry.
You can see that one of its branded picture feature a bucket full of Phish Food ice cream next to a fishing pole.
You can also invent the hashtags to promote your brand in a conventional way as this strategy has been successful for brands like MTV, which has modified the tag, #FollowMeMTV as #FollowMeFriday. It is a Twitter custom feature that allows other users to follow on the site.
4. Use the hashtags sparingly and wisely
It might sound counterintuitive, but it is important to use the hashtags sparingly and wisely to ensure good conversation settlement with your target audience. If you use too many hashtags in a single social media content post, your message will read like spam, which might deviate the social media content readers. There are different theories available over the internet related to the use of hashtags in a post, but it is considered safe to use one to three hashtags in a single post.
5. Choose simple hashtags
While choosing a hashtag for your social media content, it is important to ensure that your hashtags are easy to remember. Hashtags should be short and easy to spell or pronounce. It must exhibit the brief idea about the key topic of conversation.
While choosing your hashtag, you must consider your objectives, which is having your target audience come together for the conversation and also to ensure that it is easy to understand and remember.
Dancing with the Stars, is a perfect example, as it has used a short and simple hashtag, #DWTS for organizing people’s conversations about their show and engage with their consumers.
When you employ hashtags in your social media strategy, the solution is to ensure you are utilizing the right hashtags at the right place to make sure you are reaching your target audience in an optimistic way. If you follow these five steps wisely while executing your hashtag strategy wih your social media content, you’ll be able to select a hashtag that is not only outstanding and unique but will bring your audience with you.
Keep in mind that it is acceptable to use universal hashtags such as #marketing or #webinars. Use various hashtags if the topic is right, but do not confuse by including too many hashtags.
Using hashtags could be fruitless for the brands if done inaccurately. So how your brand can utilize the power of hashtags depends on how effectively you have created hashtags while adhering to the five key social media content strategy discussed above.
There is a big increase in the number of brands realizing the real value of using hashtags but getting creative while choosing hashtags for your brand will yield better results.
Author Bio: Sandeep Sharma holds a decade of experience in designing and developing user friendly responsive websites. He also has a passion of connecting with people on social media. He can be reached at Google Plus