Hashtags. I’m sure you’ve seen them everywhere. From billboards to social channels to people verbally saying “hashtag” followed by something ridiculous. It still surprises me the amount of people who use hashtags and don’t even know what they actually do on social channels. If you’re a brand, it’s important to recognize the strategy behind the tags.
What is a hashtag?
Within social media, it is one of the most powerful tools you can use. It is a way to carry on a conversation with a large audience. It is the perfect way to engage in conversation and get in front of an audience that might not know who you are. It is the perfect strategy to utilize for brand awareness and engagement within a specific industry.
Hashtags were started in 2007 by Chris Messina—here’s the tweet that started it all.
how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?
— Chris Messina ✌︎ (@chrismessina) August 23, 2007
He had haters, but just a short two days later, Stowe Boyd, suggested the # symbol be called a hashtag.
Hashtags are basically categories for the public on the Twitter-sphere, Instagram and now Facebook. You can rock them just by “social listening,” watching what’s trending and keeping an eye out for participating in the ones that make sense for your industry and your prime demographic. Drop hashtags in conversations to help people categorize your tweeted or shared content, and watch how they effect interaction, especially for trending or popular hashtags.
Tweet something positive this Friday for #finallyfriday.
Or use one of these amazing tools to get trending hashtags.
- Hashtagify me: Find, analyze and amplify your content with trending hashtags and search by category. The tool to find associated hashtags within my tool is my favorite feature and makes this one of the best tools for this purpose. You can see popularity and come up with a bunch of new hashtags to use. I’ve gotten great interaction using this feature—especially on Instagram, where you can drop 20 hashtags in the first comment and they quickly get covered up by other comments (if you have enough traction.)
2. RiteTag: RiteTag helps you create effective hashtags when you write a post. This tool highlights your hashtags with red, green or yellow depending on how likely it will be to get interactions based on how popular the hashtag is.
3. Topsy: Find out when a hashtag was first used or find the top influencers using a particular hashtag. Another powerful Twitter tool that goes beyond what you can discover from Twitter’s API or internal search. (Topsy was recently retired – Alternative: Keyhole)
Speaking of native search, don’t neglect the tools within Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for their search functions. They each have algorithms for showing the most interacted with content first, for good or ill, and their business models are contingent on featuring stuff you want to see. That means the best plan for brands on there is to cater to the appetites of the market. Which of course is always important, but each of the social platforms is making this truth even more pronounced. Give the people what they want!