Posted on: 23 May 2014
For anyone that uses social media, it's hard to escape the innocuous little hashtag (a word or phrase preceded by #). This humble symbol has become such a global phenomenon that the American Dialect Society chose 'hashtag' as their 2012 word of the year. That aside, when a high-profile marketing campaign backfires because somebody used a hashtag the wrong way, it's clear that brands still have a lot to learn. Accelerate your digital campaign effectiveness, and learn more about the different types of hashtags that marketers can use.
Brand hashtags relate directly to your company. Think of a brand hashtag as a signature, or a means of helping people instantly recognize your business—they're like a miniature advertising agency. Use your company name or a unique phrase, but, in either case, it's important that the hashtag is simple and easy to remember. Make it easy for customers to instantly recognize your brand hashtag, and they will then use or share it with their followers.
Your brand hashtag is here to stay. It doesn't make sense to keep changing it, so choose the words wisely, and check whether other businesses are using the same brand hashtag before you start to use it. Avoid lengthy brand hashtags. They're harder to remember, and difficult to use, and if customers mistype the hashtag, you won't see their messages.
Campaign hashtags relate directly to a current marketing initiative. Businesses use campaign hashtags to highlight promotions, new products, competitions and social activities. Campaign hashtags are a great way to get people to take part in things. For example, if you want to encourage people to share photos of your newest product, a campaign hashtag is a great way to make it easy for everyone to find all the related activity on social networks.
Try to respond when your followers use campaign hashtags. Customers who use campaign hashtags are actively trying to get involved in something in real-time, and they're more likely to share their experiences if you reach out to them. Create a sense of excitement by retweeting photos and comments or sharing posts from customers using your campaign hashtag.
You can use content hashtags to bookmark your online content, without linking directly to a specific campaign or brand. Content hashtags categorize what your business does, where you are, or why your customers need you. A lot of people like to carry out searches using content hashtags. This activity can help you connect with customers who may want to use your products and services.
Some brands overuse content hashtags. It's harder to attract customers if your messages contain multiple hashtags, and this approach also dilutes your brand. Stick to one or two content hashtags that are a strong match to your target market.
Trending hashtags help brands attract a lot of people in a short space of time. People often use trending hashtags to find out about news events, but these topics can change rapidly. A topic could trend for ten minutes, only for something to immediately replace it. One of the best things about trending hashtags is that they can help you attract a wider pool of people.
It's risky to use trending hashtags if the link between the topic and your business is tenuous. Misusing a trending hashtag is unprofessional and alienates customers. In some cases, brands have used trending hashtags inappropriately, leading to complaints and bad press. Use trending hashtags with caution, and make sure the link to your brand is completely relevant.
While customers may use hashtags for a spot of harmless fun, brands and businesses need to think more carefully about how they use this simple tool. Effective use of hashtags can connect your brand with multiple customer groups, and gives you a simple way to help people find and share your content.Share