What Is A Hashtag? Can It Help My Marketing?

what is a hashtag

By Thomas Lashier

hash·tag [hash-tag]

noun

1. (on social-networking websites) a word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used within  a message to identify a  keyword or topic  of interest and facilitate a search for it.

There. According to Dictionary.com, that’s the definition of a hashtag. But you could have looked that up yourself, right? You came here to see how a hashtag really works on Twitter, Facebook, and more, and how your business could increase its marketing reach by using hashtags.
As noted above, a hashtag is the traditional pound symbol (#) immediately followed by a word or phrase (with no spaces or punctuation). For example, #marketing or #WinterWeather. When a hashtag is used on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Google+, or other social network sites, it becomes a live link. This means that you can actually click on a hashtag and see a live stream of every other Tweet, post, photo, video, or comment that features that same hashtag from around the world.
So how can you use this technology? Here are a couple ideas:

Join Conversations

By using hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more, you can join conversations around popular topics. For instance, around New Year’s Eve last week, lots of people were tweeting about their New Year’s celebrations and resolutions. Many were including the hashtag #HappyNewYear in their tweets. At Freaky Fresh Marketing, we wanted to join this popular conversation and expose these people to our Freaky Fresh messaging. Below is one of our tweets in which we also used the #HappyNewYear hashtag:

If you clicked on that #HappyNewYear hashtag, you would see a live stream of every tweet that includes this hashtag. By including it in our tweet, we showed up in that popular feed and included our messaging in that worldwide conversation.

Chances are good that regardless of your industry, there are some popular hashtags that you could take advantage of. For example, we include #marketing, #socialmedia, or #Facebook in a lot of our tweets so that people actively talking about those things see our name and view our articles.

Add Buzz To Your Own Events

If your organization is hosting an event, creating a hashtag can allow everyone attending the event to feel more involved and more engaged. By creating your own hashtag, you allow attendees to talk to other attendees at the event via Twitter, Facebook, and more. You also encourage guests to post their own photos, videos, and thoughts on the event with their individual networks, which puts your event (and ultimately, your brand) in front of thousands of new people.

This past weekend, the first round of NFL playoffs began. Knowing that lots of people were tuning into these games, the NFL created hashtags around each individual game. Since we here at Freaky Fresh happen to be Packers fans, we were paying close attention to the hashtag created around the Packers vs. 49ers game: #SFvsGB. Here’s a tweet of fans shoveling snow off of the seats at frigid Lambeau Field over the weekend:

The NFL created this hashtag to facilitate conversation around this particular game and to allow thousands of people to see this conversation in their social feeds. Creating these hashtags also allowed people to start this conversation before the game even began and continue it well into the work week. This put the NFL brand front and center for several days, all thanks to the creation of a hashtag.

Do you have a customer event for which you could create a hashtag and drive online conversations? Maybe a customer BBQ or a product show or a webinar? Whenever you host your next event, consider adding a hashtag to Twitter, Facebook, Vine, and more.

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4 thoughts on “What Is A Hashtag? Can It Help My Marketing?

  1. Pingback: When Is The Best Time To Tweet? | Freaky Fresh Marketing

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