Are hashtags really worth all the fuss?
#Letsgo! We see them on most social media platforms but what is their purpose and more importantly, how could your business benefit from them? Let’s talk hashtags.
Circulation and visibility
Andrew Dark, Managing Director at Custom Planet had this to say:
“A post on social media with or without hashtags makes a big difference to the visibility of the post, especially if you use one that is being widely circulated. When there is some big news or event, the hashtag is one of the threads that weaves all of the related posts together.”
When you use hashtags, it allows your content to be more widely circulated outside of your immediate sphere of influence and beyond your followers. Not only do your followers see what you’ve posted but anyone who searches that particular hashtag sees your post. It creates wider brand awareness and can result in more followers for you. So if you want to expand your consumer base and really build a following on social media, it’s important that you use hashtags to target those who do not already follow you.
If you’re able to attach your content to relevant and trending topics and popular hashtags without over reaching then you’re guaranteed to reach a wider audience. However it’s important that you do not jeopardise the integrity of your content by over-reaching too far and using completely unrelated hashtags that have nothing to do with your company, product or service.
“Hashtags can drive, enhance and/or support marketing campaigns, they also can become a campaign. Hashtags are incredibly powerful given they’re engrained into popular culture and used by audiences, brands, marketers, news outlets.” (Tim Gibbon, Founder of Elemental Communications)
Another great reason to use hashtags is to support your marketing campaign. In the same way that you are able to use hashtags to increase circulation, you’ll able to use them to drive marketing campaigns forward. Using general hashtags as well as hashtags you’ve created for your own campaign is a great way to capitalise on the popularity of the general hashtags whilst also raising the profile of the hashtags you’ve created for your own campaign.
Before creating hashtags, you should consider what ramifications they might have. Do your hashtags make sense? Are they too specific? Are they offensive or could they be read as such? There are so many examples on social media of marketing campaigns going awry so before you create your hashtag, here are a few tips I think you should consider:
Does your hashtag already exist? What or who is it associated with?
Does it make sense? Spell check, even with “slang” terminology. Avoid profanity.
Cultural ramifications – is it likely to offend anyone?
Be prepared for any backlash – if your hashtag is offensive or potentially offensive, are you able to justify why you used it? What purpose does it serve?
Keep them short and to the point.
An inadvertent benefit of using hashtags is that you’re able to easily analyse how they perform on social media. Hashtags can be used to produce trending data and to measure the overall performance of your campaign simply by looking at how popular they are, if they’re been retweeted, by whom and how many times.
Similarly, hashtags are great for conducting market research. You’re able to directly engage with your audience and see exactly what they’re saying about your products or services. It’s also a great way to drive product and service development.
So in conclusion, yes, hashtags are worth the fuss. They’re free, everyone uses them and they’re hugely beneficial for companies seeking to expand their consumer base, promote a new product/service and they even help with market analysis and research. They’re one of the best ways to get the most out of social media marketing. #Goforit!