First off, what is a hashtag really? Hashtags originated on Twitter back in 2007 as a way to hyperlink conversations. Hashtags make it possible to group conversations that are unique to that hashtag. Hashtags can only connect within the specific platform and cannot be linked to pictures or messages from different social media platforms. They are very powerful if used correctly. How do you use them appropriately? Here are some examples.
FIFA World Cup. The 2014 #WorldCup was the most tweeted sporting event to date, specifically the match between Brazil and Germany. By using the hashtag #WorldCup users were able to discuss the matches and events in a linked forum. By searching for the hashtag #WorldCup, you’re able to pull up and view all the various conversations, photos, and updates about this titanic event. You could join or just simply view the conversations and get updates on each match.
There are two basic ways of using hashtags.
1. Start something; Creating unique tags. If you have a big campaign or event that your company is hosting, creating a hashtag around that can help spark social engagement. For instance, if you your company is sponsoring a jazz festival, creating something like #YourCompanyJazzFest14 can be useful. Make sure you research to see if the hashtag you plan on using exists already or not. You wouldn’t want to create confusion or promote another “jazz fest” on accident…
2. Ride the wave; leveraging existing trending tags.
Hashtags can also create powerful exposure through linking with other tags in use. Such as this blog, by us using some broad highly used tags #Marketing, #SocialMedia, we can gain free exposure by riding the trending wave. You typically want to use 3-5 max per post, don’t be obnoxious here.
Where do they work best? Hashtags work best on Twitter however, Instagram and Google+ have started leveraging them pretty well. Although Facebook and Pinterest have also adopted them, they do not work as strongly there (yet). It’s safe to say though, you can use them on any social platform. Reality check, people really do use them!
Now go #hashtag it up!