Villing & Company

Hashtags: #Overused or #Undervalued?

Most people have become familiar with hashtags. Hashtags are common on Twitter especially, and are also used on other social media sites. The word hashtag was even officially added to the dictionary in 2014. But how do you use them? And, for marketers especially, what role do they play in an overall social media strategy?

What Are Hashtags and How Are They Used?

Hashtags became popular on Twitter and are used frequently to indicate open group discussions around a particular topic. For instance, if you are attending a conference, there might be a specific hashtag associated with the conference so that attendees can easily follow the conversation online.

Hashtags also allow users to easily find and follow other users who have similar interests. They can also be used as a label on a post to express humor, sadness or other emotions.

Marketing Strategies for Hashtags

So what are some useful ways to use hashtags for marketing purposes? First, creating a simple hashtag can help in branding a company. Making a hashtag that’s unique can help set you apart. After using the hashtag strategically, it will not only create awareness but also help build the brand.

While this strategy is useful, it can take some time to get off the ground. It is very difficult to predict what will and will not go viral, so you probably shouldn't expect a huge return overnight. Thankfully, there are also other ways for hashtags to be useful tools for marketers.

Event Promotion

Using hashtags as promotion during marketing campaigns or live events can be very beneficial. The essence of the original “tweet chat” is still relevant to how marketers can use hashtags today to create conversation. During long or short term marketing campaigns, many companies use hashtags to increase participation and engage their audience.

For example, if there is a special sale at a retail store, you can create a unique hashtag to help with promotion. When using the hashtag, it can create incentive for followers, extend the campaign's reach, and strengthen your brand. If followers use the hashtag, perhaps they can be in the running to win something from the store.

Reach a Wider Audience with Trending Topics

Finally, one other very powerful use of hashtags is their ability to connect you to topics that are already trending. These are topics that have generated a substantial amount of conversation. By using a hashtag that’s trending, you can help introduce your brand to a wider audience.

For instance, campaigns such as #IceBucketChallenge in support of ALS research or movements like #LoveWins after the recent Supreme Court decision allowed brands to join nationwide conversations. Obviously, you have to make sure the conversation fits your brand and makes sense within your overall marketing strategy, but using hashtags to reach a wider audience can be very impactful.

The Don'ts

I'm sure we've all seen tweets exploding with hashtags. Doesn't this just seem cumbersome? While adding keywords as hashtags can be useful for SEO purposes, marketers must always remember to write for people not search engines.

Too many hashtags can cause your post to look unprofessional, and it can take away from what you are seeking to accomplish. Research shows that too many hashtags can cause a drop in post interactions. Best practice is to include one or two relevant hashtags.

Another major no-no is using hashtags that are either too long or too difficult to spell. The whole idea here is to find a hashtag that others will use or search for. People probably wouldn't race to their smartphones for #AaronWritesABlogPostOnHashtagsForMarketersAndAdvertisers.

Other Useful Tips

Before you build hashtags into your marketing strategy, make sure you know the nitty-gritty of hashtag usage.

First, there can be no spaces in between the hashtag and your copy for the hashtag to show up in a Twitter search. So # marketing won't fly.

Also, other characters effectively end the hashtag. So #marketing&advertising will only show up in a Twitter search as #marketing.

Finally, if you have multiple words in your hashtag, it is helpful to capitalize the first letter of each word to make things easier on users. Again, make sure your hashtag does not become too long. Something like #MarketingBlog is both an acceptable length and easy to read.

Get Started

Simply put, there is value in using hashtags on social media – especially for marketers. Hashtags can increase the value of your post and the likelihood for that post to be further recognized.

So go try them out! Experiment with hashtags on various platforms and see what works best for you. Hashtags can and should be a major part of your overall social media strategy.

Filed Under: social media

Villing & Company

Villing & Co
Here to Serve You

130 S Main St, Suite 315
South Bend IN 46601

Get Directions

All fields are required.