The importance of hashtags in #SocialMedia

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is a word or collection of words after the “#” sign (e.g. #BigLoveBigData). Through the use of the “#” sign, words are indexed and a hyperlink is created. This creates what’s technically known as a metadata tag, but is more commonly known as a hashtag.

In social media these “tags” can be used in an abundance of ways, some include:

–          Indexing

–          Increasing SEO

–          Increasing reach

But as with all things, with great power comes great responsibility. If abused, they lose their significance and become more about marketing and less social. The trick, as with everything in life, is to find balance. Hard sales techniques, when used in a thoughtful manner combined with carefully constructed hashtags and emotive content, can do wonders for a brands online presence. Abuse either and it becomes insincere.

Hashtag symbol3 Marketing strategies for hashtags

–          Brand or campaign specific

–          Trending

–          Content

When using hashtags there are a few things to keep in mind

Let the grammar and spelling Nazis rejoice. Hashtags are one place where a spelling error, lack of capital letter(s) or poor research before utilising a hashtag can have a less than desirable effect. Anyone remember the #Susanalbumparty social catastrophe of 2012?

So why should you use hashtags?

–          To Facilitate discussions

–          Streamline communication

–          Creates an easy way to stay on top of discussions pertaining to your industry and brand

–          Promote events, special offers or campaigns

–          Reach consumers

–          Hashtags are forever

–          Increase your SEO ranking

Recent updates to the web now include Google’s updated feature allowing you to search hashtags in organic search results on Google.com and Google+.

The integration of social on Google means increased visibility and reach, allowing savvy marketers to leverage hashtags and take advantage of this incredible opportunity for brands. The benefits are increased should your brand:

–          Have a Google+ page

–          Use relevant hashtags

–          Stay on top of trending topics

May hashtags and your brand live long and prosper, but remember: savvy use of hashtags and understanding consumer behaviour is key to a strong social strategy. Even the simplest tool when used for evil can have disastrous effects.

Written by: Michelle Minitzer

@Mich_Minitzer

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