Are you familiar with terms like #ootd, #tbt, #foodporn and #tgif? Well, these are examples of hashtags. Hashtags started back in 2007 and immediately became the talk of the town. In 2010, it even got added into the Oxford dictionary as an official word!
For those who are still unfamiliar with hashtags, fret not. We’re here to hash out on hashtags and help you learn more about what they are and how to use them.
Basically, hashtags, as seen in the above examples, are words or phrases preceded by a pound (#) sign. They are used to categorise topics or trends which create and group conversations together.
Then, what is the purpose of hashtags? Here’s a couple of reasons:
Marketers can use hashtags to promote their new brand initiatives. Take for instance, Disney’s new film Moana. To promote the film, Disney uses the hashtag #FindYourWay in all their posts that are related to the movie. Disney fans can also do a simple search of the hashtag on Twitter and be led to tweets of the movie’s promotional photos in Singapore and the Philippines to name a few.
In addition, Disney can track the performance of their promotions with the hashtag. They will be able to see the total number of posts that contain the hashtag and measure their share of voice as well as conversations generated. With that said, you can actually come up with your own hashtag for your marketing campaigns.
Besides using hashtags for promotional activities, you can also use hashtags to share real time updates. This is especially so for news agencies. For example, BBC News uses the hashtag #Election2016 to update followers of the most recent news regarding the U.S. Presidential elections, one of the hottest topics lately. Many users are also using this hashtag to express their thoughts about the elections.
Such hashtags will come in handy when you have an event that draws a lot of public attention. This means that you can create a thread using the hashtag and post real time updates about the event. Others will then be able to follow the event closely by searching for the hashtags to get to know the latest information.They can also join in the discussion by using the hashtag in their own posts.
Not all hashtags have to be unique to garner attention. You can use broad interest topics to engage your followers. So, you can make use of common hashtags to get in touch with your followers, or anyone who searches about it. Fashion retailers, for instance, can use #ootd (outfit of the day) to grab the attention of potential buyers. You simply need to snap a picture of the clothes that you put together, use a variety of relevant hashtags, perhaps including the name of your clothing line and your brand name, then post it on Instagram and wait for others to like and comment.
Another example would be the #SG50 hashtag that was used by many to celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday. Official bodies used the hashtag to give updates about celebratory events. Retailers used the hashtag to notify customers about special offers and promotions. The general public also used the hashtag to share their own stories about living in Singapore. Using common hashtags like those mentioned, which are widely used, can help improve brand visibility and also generate conversations and interactions with the public, giving rise to more user-generated content.
Now that you’re familiar with what hashtags are, you might be interested to include them in your posts or come up with your own unique hashtag to get started. So here’s some tips to keep in mind when using hashtags:
- Adding spaces and punctuation marks in between words in hashtags are a big no-no! The hashtag will end where you place the space and punctuation marks.
- If you’re looking to differentiate between words in a hashtag between words, try using capital letters. So instead of #purpleclick, we can use #PurpleClick to make it easier to read. But both hashtags are essentially the same.
- Research on the hashtag that you’re intending to use. This way you will know whether your hashtag is unique. If it’s already been used, you can find out what it’s being used for so as to avoid using it wrongly.
- Proofread your hashtags beforehand. Make sure others would not misread your hashtags.
- Try to keep your hashtag unique and memorable, so that you can not only attract the attention of others, but also own your hashtag entirely. This will allow more convenience when you use the hashtag to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaign.
At this point, we hope you’re eager to start using hashtags already. But, hold it! Do you want to know more? What about some tips on how you can use them on different social media platforms? Well then, stay tuned for the second part of this blog post that will be up tomorrow to find out more!