Hashtags – you’ve seen them used on all your favorite social networks. Even LinkedIn had a brief stint with hashtags! But if you haven’t realized the benefits of using relevant industry hashtags in your content, there’s a lesson to be learned.
Many folks use hashtags as a means of entertainment. #itsfuntoputthemonanyphrase. It’s almost like a puzzle – how long will it take you to distinguish between the end of one word and the beginning of another? If you’ve ever clicked on an absurd hashtag such as the one above, you’ll notice it’s usually the only post of its kind. At Sage Island, we appreciate the humorous aspect of these hashtags from an individual’s standpoint. But it’s the biggest misuse of hashtags we encounter for businesses.
Let’s talk about what happens when you strategically use hashtags. The social media gurus at our agency often put the notorious # symbol in front of words and phrases such as marketing, content marketing, marketing strategy, SEO, social media and more. When you click on one of these, you’ll see other content with the same hashtag. It’s a means of categorizing your posts and tweets with other content of the same nature, which is beneficial for businesses in many ways. First, you become part of a larger conversation and establish a presence among competitors using the same hashtags. Second, you are placed in front of an audience actively searching for the information you can readily provide them. Should a member of this audience discover your brand’s content, you increase the likelihood of lead generation, open the door for a conversation, and create social signals for Google.
Hashtags are also useful in encouraging user-generated content. When you’re watching your favorite show, you might see a hashtag in the bottom right corner of your TV screen. The network wants to hear what their viewers have to say, and potentially engage in conversations with them.
The same is true for brands. By encouraging customers to use a specific hashtag, brands are able to collect key data by listening to conversations about the brand. They can even build relationships through interaction. Plus, they’re simultaneously building a bank of content centered around the brand for other audience members to browse and weigh in on. Keeping the conversation alive is crucial. Brands have the opportunity to pull that content from time to time, and publicly recognize an individual user. The possibility of being selected from the crowd encourages people to use brand hashtags even more.
Brands may also use campaign hashtags when they have a specific objective. Choosing a unique hashtag for people to use to enter a sweepstakes is a prime example. Followers may upload a photo to Instagram or tweet using a specific hashtag, which automatically enters them to win a prize. Brands simply choose a winner out of all the content aggregated as a result of the hashtag.
Social media is an ever-changing marketing tactic, which means it’s necessary to stay up-to-date on the latest news and trends to succeed. Developing a social media strategy is also key – adequate planning will help brands determine their core audiences, corporate voice, appropriate content to share, and even relevant hashtags to use. If your business needs help developing a social media plan, contact Sage Island today.
Mike Duncan co-founded Sage Island in 1997, and since then has evolved the agency’s scope to include marketing strategy, creative design, technical development and a wide range of digital marketing services. With an integrated approach that leverages the power and measurability of the internet, the savvy Sage Island team develops strategies, builds brands, writes killer copy and delivers to clients all over the world. And they have an awesome time doing it. Sage’s collaborative working environment keeps creativity and innovation at the heart of the concept. With a 17-year history in Wilmington and beyond, Sage Island shows no signs of slowing down. To learn how Sage Island can grow your business, check us out at www.sageisland.com. To stay updated on the latest in digital marketing, follow Sage Island on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SageIsland, and on Twitter at twitter.com/SageIsland.
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