If you are social media savvy you are likely aware of the “hashtag” and what it entails: hashtags are used to categorize posts and make content searchable.
Brands use hashtags on their posts to increase visibility and to encourage their social audiences to join the conversation. But hashtags are not just limited to brands; companies of all sizes can utilize them and benefit from their popularity and scope.
Hashtags are now supported by many social platforms, after first becoming popular on micro-blogging sites. Hashtags were previously most widely used on Twitter but are now supported by other social platforms including; Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+ and Flickr.
It’s important to consider what platform you are using before you decide what hashtag to use – each platform is different and you must remember that when posting hashtagged content.
Here are 10 reasons to use the Hashtag and examples of each:
Hashtagging is a great way of getting audiences to participate in your conversations. For example, establishing a hashtag for an event and promoting it to your followers helps you to create real time coverage of your event and a record of the experience.
You should use hashtags sparingly, there is no need to use them in every update – it can become highly annoying for your followers if you are unnecessarily hashtagging your posts.
Ex. Adidas have used Twitter to promote their relaunch of the #StanSmith trainer – other sites including Asos have also adopted this Hashtag, supporting Adidas and also reaching out to a wider audience. Users looking to join the conversation simply search Twitter for the #StanSmith hashtag and can easily keep track of conversations in real time.
Hashtagging group posts in categories can make it easy to search for specific posts. Sites like Facebook and Twitter allow searches for real time results.
Popular hashtags produce constantly updated results and this is a lot more popular on Twitter than the other social networks. If you were to search for the same topic on both Twitter and Facebook you’re more likely to get more results from Twitter.
When communicating with hashtags, Twitter users have to create their own post in order to reply or be part of a conversation. This is great for engagement purposes giving followers the ability to start conversations with multiple users.
Facebook on the other hand only gives users the opportunity to comment on posts due to the privacy issues within the network. This makes it difficult to communicate with users that aren’t in your friends list and makes engaging with large groups limited to fans unlike Twitter where anyone can get involved.
Using hashtags can enable you to gain more followers – Instagram users for example are more likely to gain more likes and followers by hashtagging images and videos than those that do not. A popular hashtag on Instagram is #wiwt. Users tag their photos with this hashtag as an abbreviation of “What I’m Wearing Today.”
Unlike Pinterest, using hashtags on Instagram can do a lot for boosting your popularity. On Pinterest hashtags are mainly used to represent the topic of the post so that people can find related content and content in related searches.
You can create relationships with your followers: people love to post stuff and brands love customer engagement.
Converse, for example, worked with 23 Instagrammers and asked them to document their lives with a Converse duffle bag over the space of a month hashtagging #mycanvasjourney. Everything that they document goes into an online album on Tumblr and on Instagram, then onto a full exhibition in London.
Once a hashtag has been created it’s out there for all to see, this means you can pretty much create your own keywords and tap into active conversations reaching an already wide audience – giving you more exposure.
You are likely to use the same hashtags over each of your social media platforms – consistently using the same hashtag will create conversations over multiple platforms and this will inevitably increase your brand’s audience engagement.
For example, Nike created the NikeiD campaign which encouraged users to design and share customized versions of Nike footwear. Sharing #NikeiD over multiple platforms – users can share over Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, as well browse the designs via other Instagram users.
Using hashtags will not only make it easier for you to search certain topics, but it will also make it easier for people to search you. Hashtags will enable your audience to search and experience all your brand has to offer over multiple platforms. For example both Instagram and Twitter give users the option to search or discover via the # symbol.
Using social platforms can provide brands with access to consumers’ thoughts, opinions and trends. The use of hashtags only widens this by creating an informal customer service toolbox, giving you the tools to find your audiences reactions to a particular subject or promotion.
Hashtagging and ROI on Facebook: The use of hashtags on Facebook isn’t as popular, however it’s the only platform with ad space bringing a new layer to social media ROI. Your clicks may not travel as far due to Facebook’s privacy issues but you are able to target your ads to followers of specific hashtags.