When you are composing a tweet, whether it is for your company or personal page, you most likely add a hashtag somewhere in the text without even thinking about it. Hashtaging has quickly become a popular trend on social media outlets, but most people do not understand what their purpose is and just how much they are capable of doing.
What is it?
A hashtag is a simple way for people to search for posts that have a common topic. Think of them as a digital filing system. Twitter is one big filing cabinet and each hashtag used gets its own folder where all the tweets with the same tags are placed. Then when you search for a particular tag it’s like pulling the folder from the cabinet and opening it to find all published tweets that have used that hashtag. When a certain hashtag is used at a high volume in a short period of time it is considered to be “trending“. Hashtags are the easiest way to track what topics are trending at any given moment. Apple Inc. provides a great example for how hashtags work. Anytime Apple comes out with a new product you can be sure that social media will be buzzing about the latest gadget. Recently the Apple Watch was released in stores and sure enough #AppleWatch started trending on Twitter. To find put what people are saying about their Apple Watch all you have to do is search for the hashtag on twitter and have fun scrolling!
Contribute to the Conversation
Social technology guru, Chris Messina is credited with creating the very first hashtag to appear on Twitter. He sent the first hashtagged tweet while at a Barcamp conference in August 2007. Messina’s goal was to create a simple way to make smaller social circles that are targeted to a particular audience. By using #barcamp people at the conference, could easily follow along with the event and engage in conversations like never before. Messina stated that Internet Relay Chat (IRC) an application designed for group communication and discussion forums was the inspiration for his concept. Twitter originally hated the idea because they thought the approach was too technical and no one would use it. But, years later the hashtag game is still going strong not only on Twitter, but every major social site on the web.
Like Messina envisioned, the hashtag – in its early stages – was used to connect people to a particular topic they are interested in and facilitate a dialogue between users. The hashtag is the easiest way to track a particular trend, see what people are saying about it, and share your own thoughts about the subject. Hashtags are still used for this purpose, but now the hashtag has evolved to also serve a literary or linguistic function.
In addition to serving as metadata, hashtags offer people the opportunity to comment on their own inner thoughts. This use can add a layer of emotion, irony, and humor. You are unlikely to spot these hashtags in the trending topics because they do not occur frequently enough in a small span of time. Tags like #embarrassed and #momismad are used as an after-thought to express emotion while some tags like #santanotcoming add humor.
Keep it Short
Hashtags are useful in marketing because you are able to see how many people are talking about your company, product, or event and gain insight into what they like and what they do not like. If you are trying to create buzz about your latest endeavor it is essential that you create one hashtag to use in all of your tweets and to encourage other tweeters to use so you can easily track the conversation. Your hashtag should say something about your brand, but you want to keep it simple. You only have 140 characters in a tweet, so try to keep the letter count down. Make it something that is easy to remember and associate with your brand. Safeway’s National Capital Barbeque Battle nailed their hashtag with #bbqindc. It is short, easy to remember, and clearly identifies with their brand.
A good hashtag can go a long way! If you need help creating the perfect hashtag or understanding how to use them in your marketing strategy, contact Liquified Creative to learn about our #SocialMedia services.