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Encash Upon The Power Of Twitter Hashtags

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banner-dont-underestimate-the-power-of-hashtagTo a layman, the # symbol, called a hashtag, would probably mean nothing more than a pair of lines drawn to play tic-tac-toe. The same can’t be said for people who use social media. In the online environment, Twitter hashtag is a force to be reckoned with. A hashtag is used to mark keywords or topics in a tweet or comment. It was created organically by Twitter users in order to categorize messages. It has the power to uniquely identify a tweet from a sea of tweets. More importantly, it’s a tool to track and analyze users’ perspectives.

How Hashtag Came Into Picture

In 1988, Internet Relay Chats(IRC) were popular. Hashtags were used at that time to group images, videos, messages and other content. They made it possible for IRC users to easily find related information and items. In August 2007, designer Chris Messina asked his followers how they felt about using the pound sign to group conversations on the micro-blogging platform, and thus became the first person to use the hashtag on Twitter.  So, Twitter did not invent the hashtag but told others about its existence and brought it to the fore. Thereafter, people started using the hashtag on other online platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ etc.

Why Use a Hashtag

Hashtags have become ubiquitous. Anyone on the social network can view it, click it, and explore. Tweets with hashtags get two times more clicks, retweets, favorites, and replies than tweets without hashtags. They highlight the keywords and make the search easy. By clicking on a hashtag trail, people encounter more information about each other and hence increase their influence. Hence, hashtags lead to engagement. A simple hashtag can create a lot of buzz about a topic and even help in tracking the impact of a brand’s campaign. Hashtags help a brand in identifying its target audience. Twitter hashtags are especially important for businesses who seek customer feedback for their brand. Also, users participate in chats of common interests using hashtags.

Despite all the above mentioned advantages, only 24 per cent of tweets contain hashtags. This implies that the potential of hashtags is still untapped.

The Power of a Hashtag

Twitter has 288 million active users and about 500 million tweets are sent per day. The use of a hashtag has become synonymous with trends and discussions in social media.  A brand’s exposure can be increased manifold by leveraging the hashtag. Twitter hashtags have become even more powerful as Twitter and Google have reached a new agreement to provide Google the access to Twitter’s FireHose data stream. Google will now have the ability to index a user’s tweets automatically, instead of having to search and index each page. This means that Twitter hashtags are now more critical to online success of a brand than ever before.

Audi used the #solongvampires hashtag in their online campaign to promote their new and brighter LED headlight. The hashtag brought online users who clicked on the link to the company’s unique TV commercial, showing vampires being destroyed with the LED headlight’s extreme brightness.  The result of the campaign was a greater interaction between the company and their potential customers.

Another brand that benefited from the power of hashtags is Red Bull. It used the hashtag #ItGivesYouWings in its campaign that became very popular with consumers and their targeted customers on social networks. These examples show how powerful hashtags can be in generating brand awareness.

Select the Right Hashtag(s)

According to Twitter, “The hashtag has become one of the most valuable assets in any modern marketing campaign. The brands that create the most effective ones and employ them reap the benefits of Twitter. “There are a large number of tweets on a particular topic. Unless and until a unique hashtag is not used, the tweet won’t stand out. Research should be conducted to determine whether a hashtag is overly used or not. A company must ensure that the hashtag it uses to promote its product caters to a large audience in a positive way and promotes it well. Hashtags that can be used across multiple online platforms must be adopted to increase the exposure of the brand. Some research tools that can help a business pick the right hashtag include BuzzSumo, SocialMention, Google Keyword Planner, HashTracking etc. To leverage the power of hashtags, don’t use too many for one tweet.  Use hashtags specific to a campaign and come up with innovative hashtags for trending topics. Also, use capital letters only when necessary. Maintain uniformity of the hashtags used for a particular campaign on all social media websites.

Creative hashtags not only add value to tweets but also help in establishing a relationship between a brand and its customers.  If used and monitored well, they have the power to increase brand awareness and engagement by leaps and bounds.

Image Credits: Google Images

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