The hashtag. You either love it or you hate it. It can be horribly abused–like when an instagrammer inserts 30 hashtags to get views on their photos, some of them being totally irrelevant. Or even worse, when you hear someone vocally hashtag something in their speech. The worst.
But there is definitely a time and a place for the hashtag and it can actually be a very powerful social tool. The technique started on Twitter, when users started to place a hashtag in front of key words in order to more easily find tweets that were relevant to their topic. Since then, hashtags have moved to other social media platforms as well.
So when are hashtags appropriate? When they are used intentionally and correctly.
Hashtag an Event
Hosting (or attending) an event and want to see who else is attending? Assign a hashtag! For example, if we were hosting an event, say a networking event, we could use the hashtag #CtechNetwork. Everyone who is attending the event could then post a photo on Instagram or post a tweet and use that hashtag. Not only does this help get the word out about our event, but it also allows us to find the people who are attending simply by searching that hashtag.
Have you ever noticed how we end a lot of our social messages with #raknroll? That’s our personal brand hashtag. We use it kind of like a trademark. It helps to get our brand message out there and into the minds of our audience. Every time one of our Tweets gets shared, so does that little reminder of our brand. It also serves another function. If someone is interested in reading social messages by us or others that are talking about us, they can easily search that hashtag and find everything that has to do with our brand.
Are you running a specific campaign? Use a relevant hashtag to promote your campaign and invite your followers to participate. For example, Kit Kat does this well. Their “Have a Break” campaign invites their loyal followers to post a photo of themselves enjoying a Kit Kat with the hashtag #haveabreak. Not only are followers of Kit Kat seeing the message, but anyone who follows someone who uses that hashtag is also being exposed to the campaign.
To the right of your Twitter screen you’ll notice a list of trending hashtags. Hashtags can trend globally and locally. You can also find hashtags that are trending within your industry or local community. When you create a tweet, instagram photo or Facebook post with that trending hashtag, you are joining a community of people who are all using that same trending hashtag. That means there are more people who are searching for it, and will inevitably come across your post. One rule here: it has to be relevant! Don’t use a popular hashtag that has nothing to do with your content just because it’s popular.
How do you use hashtags in your marketing?