The tool that once never existed is now unavoidable in modern society – the hashtag (#). The branding tool that made its name through Twitter, is not only a trademark, but a symbol that represents the power of social media and the digital environment. Those who are not technically minded, or even signed up to social media platforms are aware of hashtags.
As such, they tend to be attached to advertisement campaigns and other forms of marketing content. With that being said, the general online community (predominately on hashtag friendly platforms: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for example) frequently use the tool to promote other users content, or to simply be involved within large online discussions, which generate online trends from the frequent and consistent use of the same hashtag, attached to a shareable concept.
When taking into consideration that many are signed up to social sites, there are still others who are still getting use to the social landscape, which can make hashtag implementation within a marketing context a difficult task. As a result, there have been numerous hashtag horror campaigns where a poor understanding of social media turned marketing ideas into an online disaster, with time and money being wasted.
A hashtag is a way in which to organize and advertise an idea. The more appealing the idea, the more likely the hashtag is to be shared, which can greatly increase the odds that social media campaigns on hashtag-friendly platforms will actually see results in the form of conversions for example. To use the hashtag with confidence and generate valuable and meaningful ROI, take a look at the key considerations below:
1. Consistency is key – Hashtags will take time to gain significant traction. However, ensuring that the same one is used when posting and promoting your message (for a prolonged period of time), whilst encouraging online community members to re-post and favourite your content, will help build momentum.
2. Incorporate across multiple channels – By publicly displaying your hashtag in various locations (online and offline), you’ll be able to brand the hashtag’s core idea more clearly with your customers. It’s a proven formula, so it’s definitely worth doing.
3. Capitalise multi-word hashtags for clarity – When hashtags are too long, the primary meaning of the message can be lost. For that reason, the shorter the hashtag, the better. Only on rare occasions will a hashtag include 3 or 4 sort simple words.
4. Use hashtags in sentences – On Twitter, each of the 140 characters are very important and it’s important to make them count. Be as concise as possible and avoid using unnecessary terms. If you can use a hashtag in place of a word without the sentence becoming confusing, do it.
5. Monitor conversations – To effectively keep up with trends within your industry, be sure to monitor hashtags, though it can be a difficult task. Keeping track of conversation will allow you to gain valuable insight into what your competition is doing, what the influencers are saying and how customers are acting and reacting. This will help mold your social media strategy.
6. Informative instead of abstract – Ensure that the term you select for your hashtag is simple and to the point. Over complicating your hashtag can negatively impact your campaign. People will not respond or promote your hashtag if they don’t understand it.
7. Have a back up plan – Just in case unexpected events occur, it’s important to have a back up plan. In the past and even today, many people are not accounting for the messages they send out and forgetting that they’re open for interpretation by thousands, if not millions. Be sure your message is clear and the intent is definitive.