Whether it is representing a movement with #metoo or a message to people to bring about change with #YesWeCan, the power of hashtags is undeniable! And these days hashtags are everywhere, you see them on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and several other platforms.
The thing with hashtags is there are no limitations to the game, anyone can come up with their own hashtags, and they come in various formats. So does that mean the world of hashtags is chaotic? Well, not exactly, even in this seemingly chaotic world there are certain principles that one could follow to make better use of hashtags, have a defined goal for each of them, and develop a strategy to execute and manage them. Let us go over the important uses of Hashtags.
Your own hashtag can be a tagline for your product/service or even just the name of your company. It has to be catchy and creative so people want to join in and use it as well! Hashtags can define your business on social media since they act as your signature tag. The goal of this hashtag is to create user engagement that leads to brand awareness for your business.
Tip: Avoid long and complicated hashtags. This is something you want people to remember, so, keep it simple! Also, do some research, make sure the hashtag is not already in use.
For example: If you are a retailer of designer jewelry, use something like #JewelryDesigns. Don’t use #webringyouthebestjewelrydesigns. A great example of using a hashtag is Nike, they go with a simple #justdoit for their posts.
Filter Search Results
Social media searches incorporate hashtags, in most cases, when a search query is entered a corresponding hashtag shows up. In fact, some people are of the view that hashtags are the future of search algorithms. In the image below you see how hashtags are shown on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. A good thing about appearing in search results for hashtags is you are connecting to the relevant audience, already interested in your product/service.
Tip: Avoid tagging every word in your posts; #donot#tag#every#word#of#your#post. Too many hashtags make your posts look unappealing and hard to read.
Becoming the most common use of hashtags is the campaign hashtag format. In this type of hashtag, you are just marketing a particular campaign, usually in the short term. A word or phrase that makes a catchy and unique promotion. Sometimes, it can be a good idea to introduce a contest to start a buzz and make the audience interact with you.
Tip: While it is possible to go for multiple goals under one marketing campaign on social media it would be better to use a single goal per campaign. A narrow goal will also help you create the best Hashtags.
For example: Lay’s got it spot on by starting a campaign #DoUsAFlavor to launch a new flavor of their chips.
To take part in trending conversations (Trendjacking), use trending hashtags. People are always looking at the trending hashtags, so if you are using them, there is a good chance your post will be seen by a group larger than your contacts and followers. Certain hashtags are bound to be used every year, such as #Halloween, #celebratevalentinesday, #merrychristmas, #happynewyear, and so on.
Tip: A good way to come up with creative and fun hashtags for these occasions is to plan ahead! Also, remember to be relevant! if your brand does not fit with a certain hashtag, do not force it!
For example: Dunkin’ donuts came up with a nice way of joining the Royal Wedding conversation.
These are the hashtags relevant to the content being posted, they do not have to define your business, campaign, or even be trending. They just have to fit well with the post you are making, adding to the appeal of the content. Content hashtags also prove valuable when people do general searches to find information about a specific subject. In this sense, content hashtags improve your post’s SEO and get your updates to be seen by people who are beyond your customer circle.
Tip: If you decide to go with a long hashtag, capitalize the first letter of every word to avoid confusing the audience.
For example: Dominos use the pizza ingredients as their hashtags and then ask the audience for their preferences to engage them.
The are very specific hashtags that sometimes can be quite uncommon. But by using good niche hashtag can give you better targeting and get your post seen by more like minded people. Since these hashtags are not used by many people, it is also less competition and you have more of a chance to show up higher on searches. Some popular niche hashtag categories are; Product hashtags, Lifestyle hashtags, Event hashtags, and Location hashtags.
Tip: Be sure to check the setting on your social media accounts, you posts should be open to the public and not just your followers!
For example: Ferrari here used #VintageCar to show their classic models. Targeting specific type of people with this hashtag.
Encourage the online community to perform a specific action involving your brand. It’s a traditional marketing concept that’s applied to social media. When a CTA hashtag does well, you’ll see posts across social platforms involving people taking appropriate action. People like to earn a sense of participation, by posting with a certain hashtag.
Tip: Do not go for an action that is almost impossible! Most likely you will not be engaging your audience and also do not repeat the same hashtag multiple times in the same post.
For Example: Coca-Cola used the CTA in a really effective manner with their #ShareACoke campaign.
Changing the conversation: This is usually when there is negativity surrounded a brand, to recover, it can be a good idea to change the idea using hashtags. These positive hashtags should help to reverse a conversation and turn it into a positive one over time.
Community building: Very useful for branding and creating good PR, community building hashtags can be used to encourage people to come together to achieve a greater good within a community or to bring awareness to particular problems faced by a community.