Hashtag: An Important Tool for Your Business.

13276610_sThe little hashtag symbol (#) has become the icon for social media. It all started on Twitter in August 2007. At the time, it was used to create “whispers” which gave users the ability to partially restrict posts to a small, more intentional audience. Eventually these “whispers” soon became a way to categorize tweets, thus improving the content filter on Twitter. Soon hashtags found their way onto the major social media channels. YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and now Facebook are all on board with the hashtag trend.

Hashtags are not just used at the end of a tweet anymore; they are now used to help machines (and people) answer the question of who, what, where, when, and very soon why certain topics are trending. Additionally, hashtags can help machines to process the emotional response of a person.

This all gives a reason as to why companies, organizations, and brands are joining in the hashtag trend. There are several great tips that will help you use hashtags, and use them properly:

  1. A hashtag has to start a few weeks before an event or the culmination of a promotion. Begin using it and it will grab people’s attention.

  2. During the event or promotion, don’t forget to use the hashtag. Since hashtags are a way to categorize, it’s necessary to make sure that you’re adding to that “file” every time you post on social media channels.

  3. Use brand association where possible. What other people fit into your event? Reach out and create a mutually beneficial relationship to expand the reach of your hashtag.

  4. Check in on your own hashtag. Admit it, we’ve all Googled ourselves, just to see what popped up. It’s important to do the same with your hashtag. See where it’s popping up the most, if people are mentioning it on their own. It might not be trending at a macro-level, but there might be a pocket of people that are beginning to use it. That’s where it all starts.

  5. When it’s all done, create a transcript so people can look it over and see what they participated in (or what they missed out on – which will only make them want to participate next time).

  6. Don’t forget to evaluate your success. Analyze the hashtag stream and see what worked and what didn’t. This will help you learn how to improve for the next time you decide to set a trend on fire.

Hashtags can be a fun way to get your company or organization noticed. Creating your own unique hashtag can be a way to use the original intent of a “whisper” – only this time, it’s a lot louder. Let Susan J. Campbell help with the creation and use of hashtags for your company.

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