Digital Marketing Managers believe it or not, still don’t know what hashtags truly are.
I’m going back to the basics here, but I think it’s important to first understand what a hashtag is, before you can start using them.
What’s a hashtag:
It’s a word or unspaced phrase prefixed with the number sign #
This is used in posts either at the start, in the middle or at the end.
Hashtags are used to group a conversation together. Anyone can search a hashtag, so the conversation is public and anyone can join in on it.
I must admit hashtags have been taken for a joy ride and don’t quite have the same purpose as they were once intended too, that being said there are quite a few hashtags that are used by the masses and brands should be doing there research on these. However if you’re a brand that throws in hashtags that are not relevant to what you’re posting then I need to slap you in the face, as much as they’ve been taken for a ride, they still need to be respected and used accordingly. Brands shouldn’t use more than 3 – 4 tags in each post at most.
How to use hashtags:
There’s two ways you should be using hastags.
1. You can start a conversation with a hashtag in the hopes that your community will use this hashtag to group the conversation together.
Black Milk Clothing use hashtags particularly well as they use them to encourage user-generated content as a live hashtag feed is pulled in on selected product detail pages.
2. As a brand that most powerful thing you can do is listen to hashtags. Users will either use your brand in a hashtag or be using hashtags that relate to your brand. This gives brands a great opportunity to hear what the wider community is saying about them or their space. It allows brands to join in on the conversation and build quality brand and customer relationships.
Plenty of opportunities out there for those brands that are listening out for them.
Brands need to understand that hashtags they create can either go horribly wrong, just like NYPD or amazingly well, Mashable shows off some brands that did it right! However most of the time they won’t do to much, they will rely on how active your community is and how relevant the hashtag is to them.
Hashtags should be understood and should be an integral part of your overall digital strategy.
It all falls back into what I always preach; Listen and Respond, it’s the cheapest, easiest and most unused vital tool that digital marketing managers always find an excuse not to do.