Hashtags, not to be confused with hash browns, are a way of categorising messages and topics on Twitter using the hash # symbol.
One of the first times the hashtag was used by the public to segment a topic for discussion was during the San Diego fire on 23rdOctober 2007 by Nate Ritter.
Over time, the hashtag has evolved and what started out on Twitter as a way of segmenting trending topics, is now a way for brands and consumers to interact. They’re so popular that even their top competitor, Facebook, have implemented the use of hashtags also.
Why use hashtags?
As a marketer, it is so important that you include hashtags within your content. They allow you to:
- Increase your content reach
- Get your content found
- Amplify your brand awareness
- Increase engagement and interaction
- Target your audience
When and how to use them?
As long as they are relevant to your brand, your content and target audience, then you should aim to use them as often as you can.
One way in which to implement hashtags is by joining in a hot conversation from the 10 trending topics on Twitter. These can change hourly, daily or weekly depending on how much they are being used which is why it is important to be quick and do your research on them.
Ensure that the hashtag you are wanting to use isn’t too much of a controversial topic as otherwise it will likely end up in tears. An example of this is when a pizza chain DiGiorno Pizza tweeted ‘#WhyIStayed You had pizza.’ At a first glance, it looks like a light-hearted tweet, but what they had failed to research was that actually the hashtag was being aimed at victims of domestic abuse; which as you can imagine caused a lot of commotion.
Another way of using hashtags within your tweets is by creating your own. If you have a social campaign, create your own hashtag to get people talking and interacting with you. If you already have a large following or awareness, then creating your own campaign can be very successful.
The third key way of using hashtags within your posts is by choosing the most relevant keywords from that content and putting them as hashtags. Here is an example from one of our tweets:
This meant that if anyone was to search any of those hashtags then our post would be included within the search results.
Overall, using hashtags within your social media strategy should be standard practice. Why would you not want to increase your awareness and engagement?