You’ve probably seen it before in a friend’s Facebook status or Tweet helping represent the content of their post. No, it is not just the number sign that was accidently placed in front of a word. It is the pound sign, or hashtag. But what is its purpose?
The hashtag was originally created by Twitter users back in 2007 to mark keywords or topics in a tweet. The use of the hashtag quickly took off and is now one of the most commonly used symbols on Twitter. People are also using it on other social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Now, the most common purpose of the hashtag is to help guide users to a specific topic they are searching for. This comes in handy for businesses that are trying to gain media attention to their company or event.
For a successful marketing campaign, there are a few things to keep in mind when using a hashtag.
Choose Something Unique
As a marketer, you want to make sure that you can successfully reach your audience with the use of hashtags, especially during an event or seminar. That means you’ll want to use something that stands out, not something basic like #event or #webinar. Using the specific name for the event may be much more effective. For example, if a company were sponsoring an event called “We Care”, an effective hashtag might be something like #WeCare.
Choose Something Easy to Remember
With thousands of hashtags floating around social media websites, the last thing a business wants to do is use something that nobody will be able to remember. Also, a good idea would be to try and avoid using long hashtags that people may not be able to spell. The shorter it is, the better, especially when using Twitter because of the 140 character limit. You’ll want to leave enough room for others to retweet your post, but with an extremely long hashtag, that can prove to be difficult.
Abbreviations are a good way to create an effective hashtag. For example, the popular ABC show Dancing with the Stars uses #DWTS. This hashtag works great because it is short and sweet and it abbreviates the name of the show, something that people will easily remember.
Use Them Sparingly
Too many hashtags can be a bad thing. It can be very distracting if every other word in a post is a hashtag. When writing a post, it is probably best to use around one to two hashtags, but avoid using more than four. Using more in a single post overpowers the content of the post and distracts the people you are supposed to be engaging.
Research a Hashtag Before Using it
When planning to use a hashtag for your company, always do your research and find out if that hashtag is already being used and what it is being used for. If you do not do your research, an already existing hashtag could sabotage the use of yours. For example, the hashtag could be linked to something negative. If your company uses that same hashtag, it could end up giving your company negative attention, something no company ever wants. A good reference site to check the use of existing hashtags is www.hashtagdictionary.com. Another useful site to check out is www.hashtagify.me. There you can check the popularity of a hashtag and who is using it.
So there you have it! Four basic tips to remember and follow when creating an effective hashtag for any post made by your company. If each of these tips are met, the post will be successful and accomplish what your company has set out to do; gain social media attention. What are some other ways that could make a hashtag more effective within a post?