|WHAT Are HASHTagS?|
Social media is a platform that is used by different people for varied purposes. Generally, it is used to express oneself and share experiences with friends.
One of the latest notions that have emerged to make this sharing experience more trendy and gregarious is hashtags.
Hashtags were made popular by Twitter but are now being used in all major social media apps and sites like facebook, Instagram etc. Before hashtags became popular to the extent they are today, # was a symbol for pound that was could be easily found on the landline phones and used to drop voice mails. With the progress of our creative minds, hashtags have taken the interlinking and accessibility on social media to an altogether different arena.
Hashtags are created when you write something without a space character initiating with a # symbol. Consider, #salesgoals #customerexperience or #mystory, all of which are hashtags. You can put them anywhere, at the beginning, middle or at the end of your story on social media posts. Hashtags were a result of user innovation back in 2007, after which Twitter immediately realised its marketing potential and used it to create links between the data on its site. The rest of the social circle followed the path and made it popular. Going back in time, the first hashtag was used in October 2007 by the public, to report a fire that spread in San Diego.
The credit for the popularity of hashtags goes to the pop culture that is actively participating on social media. According to a survey done on top 100 brands on Twitter show that world’s top brands have already adopted the use of hashtags for social media marketing.
Google’s Chris Messina has been one of the earliest people to realise the importance of hashtags for marketing as it is flexible, easy to use and has a quick reach to people.
|WHY Use HASHTagS?|
If you are wondering about the purpose of hashtags in social media, then think about its search outreach.
Easy Hyperlink: Hashtags have the property of uniquely creating a hyperlink for data. Suppose you post a picture on facebook with #freelife. Your picture gets linked along with all the other posts by different people under the same hashtag, which basically facilitates searching. This can be used by strategists to advertise their brands as well establish the connectivity to trending topics. The trending topics are those with the most popular hashtags on social media.
Tracking and Searching Hashtags: Hashtags can be used to organize or analyse content. When you put a #sign before any word or phrase it becomes a hashtags and creates a hyperlink. So when people search the hashtag on any social media they will see all the other public posts connected to it. The trending topics bar on twitter can be used to track and search hashtags. The search results have diversified categories like people, videos, top posts etc for a particular hashtag. But unlike twitter where everything is public, people on facebook personalize their photos and posts, which make their hashtags unsearchable. If you type a hashtag on the search bar in facebook you will get a list of all public posts that are majorly influenced by brands and influencers.
Hashtags on social media can benefit your business and marketing strategies by keeping all your work organised. It also makes it easier for your customers to search all trending information regarding your brand in a flexible and easy manner. The top hashtags on social media include #yummy, #healthy, #instapic etc.
Hashtags are a wonderful way to track the number of people talking about your brand. You can create a hashtag of your own brand or business and watch it become popular by the number of posts or tweets associated with it.
Consider the image where #winterblues is searched on the left search bar on facebook. Facebook also provides a special feature shop, where pages or brands can sell their products directly using hashtags.
Similarly, if you look for the same #winterblues hashtag on Instagram, it would provide me the results of all posts associated with it.
|HOW To Use HASHTagS?|
It is important to know how to put these hashtags to use because it can benefit you in a number of ways if used wisely.
Instagram: You can create your own hashtag on Instagram and publish your story when you create a new post. This will automatically link your story with those of other people using the same hashtag.
Facebook: To use a hashtag on facebook, make sure you make your posts public, so that people find your post when they search for the hashtag.
Use Limited Tags: According to a survey, using too many hashtags lowers engagement towards your post. Therefore, it is advised to use 1- 2 hashtags when they make sense that are enough to draw the attention of your social sphere. This will also let people filter on to make it popular by adding more admissible and relevant matter. (http://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/twitter-marketing/thought-leaders-influencers-use-hashtags/)
Popular Tags : Using the same hashtag over multiple social channels helps integrate all of them to one. If someone looks up for your hashtag on Google, they will automatically get links to all the social networks created by you. Tools like Hashtagify help you find all related trending hashtags on the social media related to yours.
Usage to mark certain events : This practice helps attracting wide audience. In order to make the events and conferences popular this is commonly used method.
Though hashtags can be placed anywhere but putting them in the middle of a sentence is slightly not preferred as it hinders the sentence reading experience. Nevertheless, hashtags can be a great tool for social monitoring.
Keep a smart check on your hashtags, so that they do not get created for unnecessary issues. Hashtags are a medium to connect you with the people looking for a similar topic as you. So, create your industry specific hashtag smartly so that more people connect with you. In today’s world, almost everyone is social media savvy and wants to stay up to date with the relevant content, in such scenarios hashtags can prove to be an excellent marketing strategy for your brand.