A hashtag is a label for content. It aids search for a specific subject or word, allowing a database to be formed of anyone sharing relevant content.
In other words, it is a way for users to organise Twitter messages around certain topics and to begin a conversation. This is a great way of communicating your brand across to a target audience.
The following results from a survey by ad agency RadiumOne shows the importance of a hashtag. From 494 participants:
58 % of respondents utilize hashtags on a regular basis, and 71 % of regular hashtag users do so from their mobile devices
43 % of respondents think hashtags are useful and 34 % use them to search/follow categories and brands of personal interest
51 % of respondents would share hashtags more often if they knew advertisers awarded discounts for sharing product based hashtags
41 % of respondents use hashtags to communicate personal ideas and feelings
Over all, a minimum of 70 % of consumers prefer hashtags on mobile devices and nearly half are driven to investigate content when hashtags are used. This is a great basis to create your own hashtag around the subject being promoted.
…So how do you do this?
1) Ensure the hashtag isn’t already present – Using a previous hashtag can divert the reader’s attention and lead them to competitors. In order to do this, a search can be undertaken in the ‘hashtag finder’.
2) Avoid easily misspelled words – this will make it hard to find the hashtag and cause confusion, reducing traffic to the page.
3) Short and sweet – Tweets are limited to 140 characters each so keep the hashtag short to make it easier to remember. If the hashtag is more than 10 characters, think about shortening it.
4) Use the right language – Using effective, short verbs will grab the reader’s attention and increase interest in the hashtag. It will also make it easier for the reader to understand what’s being promoted.
5) Incorporate other media – If you only use a hashtag on your Tweets, the only people being exposed to it are those on Twitter – not everyone has Twitter. In order to use a hashtag in the most effective way, you need to introduce it to those that aren’t already on Twitter. Another option (if funding allows) is to use “Promoted Tweets” to increase customer reach.
6) Don’t overuse them – Not every post requires a hashtag. It’s sensible to use a maximum of three tags per Tweet – endless hashtags can act as a disincentive to read further. Content is just as important – a hashtag attracts the reader, the content engages them.
Hashtags can cause your brand to travel worldwide – one of the benefits of social media. This can evolve and open it up to a whole new audience, increasing website traffic by the minute! So get hashtagging!