Hashtag 101

An introduction to the hashtag enigma in the digital world

Ever since the launch of Twitter, the number sign has become a staple in our everyday lives, on and offline. Big companies use it in advertising, millennials use it to satirize their everyday conversations, and anyone who joined Facebook in their golden years has used the hashtag without having any idea of its purpose. In all honesty, very few people actually understand what the hashtag is, the purpose it serves, and why it matters when it comes to marketing yourself or your business online. We’re ready to take on this task and educate all of our readers about the real deal of the hashtag.

What is a hashtag?
A hashtag, which appears as the number sign (#) in social media channels and elsewhere, is a way to label groups and topics so that people interested in that specific topic can easily find everything “tagged” with the same title. The hashtag originated on Twitter as a way for users to locate the trending topics that people around the country and world were discussing in real-time. Since the introduction of the hashtag, companies have used the symbol in their ads and marketing campaigns by attaching it to a keyword to create a “trend” in the digital world, gain traction, and continue to point the buzz back in their direction.

How does a hashtag work?
When you use a #hashtag on most social networks, users of the platforms can search that hashtag and see what you have posted, as well as what every other user has posted using that tag. In business, companies can use them to tag a campaign, like Coke’s successful #ShareACoke campaign, to grow interest and gain traction. Now, anyone who drinks a coke with their name on it could and probably will post a photo of the can or bottle and use the popular hashtag, further growing Coke’s social effectiveness and presence.

Why do they matter?
We can no longer argue against the case for having a social media presence. It’s undeniable the value that social evidence provides. Marketers are focused on social media marketing because of its effectiveness. More and more consumers buy off recommendations, brand loyalty, and recognition, and social media helps connect consumers that influence these items. For businesses that are smaller in scale, or have less of a marketing presence, hashtags can help them gain that social recognition. Whether our clients come up with their own hashtag to brand their social media campaigns, or they use a mix of industry and market-specific hashtags, it can only help skyrocket their social reach to the masses of social network users, beyond their own direct connections.

How do you find useful hashtags?
A bit of research is in order if you want to find hashtags that work and convert. Start with your competitors. Learn what their branding hashtags are and what industry hashtags they are using to grow their reach online. Also research your target audience and ideal customer. Learn what hashtags they use or like, and as long as it relates to your product or service, use it. Keep in mind your social consciousness, and start seeing the benefits of hashtagging for your business.

Need some help? Yakkety Yak is a full-service content marketing firm, and we have a hashtag detective team that specializes in finding your most industry-specific hashtags. Contact us and let us help you get started.

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