Hashtags first came into the social media spotlight on Twitter, which describes them as a way to categorize messages. When you include a hashtag in your tweet you are assigning a specific theme or topic and creating a link, which allows your tweet to be included with all other tweets including the same hashtag. This means that your tweet could potentially be seen by hundreds or even millions of other users who are interested in that topic—pretty powerful stuff. It’s easy to see why hashtags have become a staple in social media marketing.
Hashtags have become so popular that most social media networks now feature them. Users like to use hashtags to find topics and follow conversations. Social media marketers like them because they can extend the reach of brand messages. Hashtags allow your tweets to be seen by people who don’t even follow you—that’s pure marketing gold.
So while hashtags can be used on multiple platforms, the use case does differ slightly on each one. In this blog series, Hashin’ It Out, we’ll break down best practices for hashtags across the social media landscape to help you use them to their full potential, and most importantly, look like a true social media pro. First up: Twitter.
Extend your reach
The best use of Twitter hashtags is still to extend your reach. Any tweet that includes a hashtag is visible to people browsing through that hashtag’s stream—even people who don’t follow you. That’s pretty powerful.
Participating in a conversation is a great way to get your message to new people. Get involved in topics that are relevant to your brand—add to the conversation (emphasis on add). At this point, people are pretty well-versed in tweeting and won’t stand for offtopic tweets in a hashtag conversation. (i.e. Don’t jump on a trending hashtag for the sole purpose of promoting your brand or company.)
Build your brand
Hashtags are also great for branding. You can get creative and give your brand a real personality by creating a unique hashtag and using it as a regular theme for your tweets. Charmin does a great job with this angle with #tweetfromtheseat. The brand posts humorous musings supposedly from—but we hope not for real—the bathroom. Charmin uses the hashtag often but not in every tweet, which keeps it fresh and users engaged. The hashtag has become so popular with Charmin’s followers that it is as identifiable on Twitter as the brand itself—pretty impressive for bathroom humor.
— Charmin (@Charmin) August 20, 2013
Another great way to establish your brand and increase engagement is to hold regular Twitter chats. A Twitter chat is where people interested in a certain topic discuss it during a specified time window using a designated hashtag created by the chat’s host. The Community Manager (@TheCMgr) holds a weekly Twitter chat for social media and community managers to discuss their jobs and share advice. To participate, users tag each of their tweets with the assigned hashtag #cmgrchat.
Q3) Which social networks go well with the various types of community? (i.e. is Facebook Groups for interest? Reddit for Action?) #cmgrchat
— TheCommunityManager (@TheCMgr) August 21, 2013
A Twitter chat can revolve around whatever topic you’d like. Perhaps you set aside a certain time every week to answer direct questions from followers. Or maybe you host a chat that discusses the latest happenings in your industry like The Community Manager does. Whatever it is pick a short and sweet hashtag, using your brand name if it’s a branded discussion. Bonus: hashtags are clickable in Twitter profiles. Add your ongoing Twitter chat hashtag right there in your profile description so users can easily find it and start participating.
Stay tuned for Facebook #Hashtags coming to the blog tomorrow.
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