Guest post by Donna Moores
Hashtags are no longer just your smartphone’s pound sign. Rather, they now enjoy a prominent position in the most renowned social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest. They are probably the most prevalent way of classifying content on social networks. Nowadays, hashtags have become such a significant part of our life that it is unusual to find anybody who is not familiar with what they are. In fact, the term ‘hashtag’ is so popular now that it has been included in various prestigious dictionaries such as the Oxford dictionary, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary and the Scrabble Dictionary. However, even though majority of individuals today know what hashtags are, there are still a number of people who do not understand how to use them.
According to Chris Revengton, CMO of HandmadeWritings, social networks are a significant channel for consumer engagement and content distribution and, obviously, marketers go where the customers are. Therefore, for companies that use social media big data to drive sales and improve their marketing efforts, hashtags are a great tool. With the help of hashtag analytics, they can analyze tremendously large data sets to identify patterns, trends, and links, especially relating to human behavior and communications.
Hashtags not only make your own content discoverable but also enable you to locate appropriate content from other individuals and companies. They facilitate you in connecting with and engaging other users on the basis of a mutual subject or interest.
Using Hashtags with Social Media Big Data
Understanding the proper use of hashtags, particularly when working with big data, is pivotal to your success. Here’s how you can get maximum benefit from using hashtags:
- Be precise
When it comes to using hashtags, precision is the key. The more precise you can get with your hashtag, the more targeted your audience will be. And, we all know that a targeted audience usually means improved engagement.
For example, if your company deals in baby products then instead of using #parents or #moms (that can result in parents/mothers of children belonging to all age groups), use #newmom. The hashtag #newmom targets mothers of newborn babies which is your main audience.
- Keep in mind the social network you are using
No matter what social network you use, the primary purpose of hashtags is content classification and discovery. However, the use of hashtags still varies from one network to another.
In general, hashtags on the photo-sharing and video-sharing networks concentrate more on the narrative of the content. However, in case of Twitter, hashtags are often more focused on a topic of conversation, or a group of individuals (such as a discussion) that you would like to involve.
It is important to conduct research according to the social network prior to using hashtags. Majority of social networks offer tutorials for hashtag choice and usage. Moreover, take your time to ascertain the most prevalent and most appropriate hashtags on a particular matter for every platform. This additional time you devote will recompense in the form of customer engagement.
- Think of appropriate, unbranded hashtags
The brand hashtags you use should not have to mention your brand label. In fact, they should epitomize your brand and what you signify.
For example, the famous Canadian tourism company, Destination British Columbia generated the hashtag #exploreBC and used it to share picturesque photographs of British Columbia taken by their workers and the general public. Witnessing photographs from the community on their official account encouraged more of their fans to embrace the hashtag and post their own photographs. Intrinsically, the business has shaped an escalating drive that supplies them with eccentric, fan-generated content to share on their social networks.
Moreover, hashtags are also useful for audience-generated content drives and competitions. Remember Lay’s Potato Chips contest called “Do Us A Flavor”? It stimulated individuals to share their finest potato chip flavor ideas. The company introduced a brand hashtag movement using the hashtag #DoUsAFlavor with the objective of engaging audience and collecting ideas.
Using a brand hashtag can not only drive input and engagement, it can also consolidate all the posts that are labelled with it on a hashtag page. This is useful if you are using the hashtag to gather entries for a campaign or competition, such as what Lay’s did with the #DoUsAFlavor hashtag.
Brand hashtags can also be used to increase awareness for drives and initiatives. For instance, Concordia University Irvine (CUI) used their brand hashtag, #askWASC during an accreditation appraisal from The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). In order to engage and inform everyone about the significance of the WASC accreditation, it introduced a brand hashtag movement and posted questions to their social networks for eleven weeks. In response, the students were asked to share their answers as well as suggestions using the hashtag. This tactic was a huge success and the university was ultimately granted a 10-year accreditation.
Hashtags can make your content discoverable to a wide-ranging audience. The article discussed some ways of using hashtags when working with social media big data that can pave your way toward success.
Using hashtags will let you make your presence felt to an extensive social media audience. Always ensure that you are posting the best content, and creating the right impression.