It’s All About the # (Hashtag)
If your business has done digital marketing for some time now, it is inevitable that you’ve encountered the ubiquitous hashtag. The hashtag, as it is known in contemporary social media, has come a long way from its earlier uses as the “pound sign” on telephones to its current use as a way to categorize various topics on social network platforms.
On the internet, the hashtag was commonly used by users of the Internet Relay Chat (IRC) application, when they would label specific topics in channels with hashtags. But that was way back in 1998, nine years before social media pro Chris Messina used the same symbol, this time on social media platform Twitter. Two years later, the use of the hashtag was made official by the platform, with other social media following suit.
If your business engages in online marketing, you need to understand the power of hashtags so that you can harness its strengths, avoid its weaknesses, and possibly use them as part of your strategy to stay on top of your e-commerce competition.
Do Hashtags Drive Engagement?
From a digital marketing standpoint, engagement is supposedly one of the most important ingredients to success. One camp says that hashtags help in engagement as they link brands to the consumers who use this symbol. Hashtags can be searched on all social media platforms, but Instagram and LinkedIn users have an extra feature as they can “follow” a particular hashtag so that they can be updated on their newsfeed of any activity under that hashtag. When you use hashtags that are relevant to your brand, you can easily reach out to your potential customers who normally may not be exposed to your business yet, and of course, to your current customers.
Interestingly though, a 2020 study found that hashtags on Instagram do not really propel that much engagement, especially in particular platforms like Instagram.
Compared with other social media platforms like Twitter or Snapchat, where almost anything goes, Instagram runs a tight ship. It has a clear set of community guidelines banning nudity and other offensive content, and it blurs sensitive content if some users take issue.
Hashtags can be helpful
A lot of social media account holders may use popular and generic hashtags to boost their engagement figures, but that may not provide you with the same impact if you want to build a genuine audience. Moreover, keep in mind that popular hashtags are used by more businesses as well, which means increased competition for you. Thus, you need to make sure to use only the most relevant hashtags to your business, but at the same time also consider only those that people actually use and search. You wouldn’t want to use hashtags that people never search for, would you?
Brands must not only rely on the popular hashtags now, but also must be aware of emerging trends among consumers and influencers. This helps optimize your hashtag usage so social media users don’t miss your posts.
To increase their reach among an increasingly global market, more brands use social media analytics tools to change their hashtag marketing strategy and keep up with shifts in trends the second they happen. To get the most out of your hashtag marketing, you’ll need to define your goals.
So, how creative should hashtags be?
Hashtags are a way for social media users to have fun while being connected to topics they are passionate about. As a business, you can also display your creativity when you use hashtags. Don’t be obliged to put the name of your brand in your hashtag; instead, try to look into the hashtags that involve your line of business. Those that reference your business or brand can be considered, and if the connection of the hashtag and your brand is witty or pun-ny, it is highly likely that your audience will engage with you.
The creativity in this hashtag campaign was a fantastic way to raise awareness for an important cause. However, the most exciting element of the strategy was that it made crucial information accessible to everyone. You didn’t need a doctorate or a high literacy level to learn more about breast cancer.
Trending is not that bad
Earlier, we talked about not going with overused and too popular hashtags. But taking advantage of a trending topic is not that bad, too. Your posts can go viral if you use trending hashtags that could be related to your industry. If you can relate hashtags that people religiously follow, like #motivationmondays to your brand, it is highly possible that you can tap into a larger audience, some members of which may actually be interested in your product or service.
By using a trending hashtag in your content update, you can get your message seen by a much larger audience. More and more people can see your updates rather than just your fans and followers.
To know more about the latest and most effective trends in digital marketing, trust us at All Systems Go Marketing to get you up to speed.