3 Tips to Get the Most Out of Hashtags

By: Sofie De Beule

March 24, 2014

Hashtags, whether they are used on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, or any other place on the web, clearly go beyond simply discovering new content. They help individuals connect with other like-minded people willing to tap into a particular conversation.

Hashtags can build brands by defining conversations about your brand, running specific campaigns, or detecting relevant trending topics to make sense of the fragmented social media landscape. Did you know that tweets containing hashtags are 55% more likely to get retweeted?

Twitter is reportedly rethinking the use of hashtags to make the microblogging platform more intuitive, calling it an “arcane” part of its service. Nevertheless, hashtags have become such a large part of social media culture since it was introduced in 2007. Nowadays, it’s in your best interest to properly use them in your social media marketing strategy.

How can businesses actually use hashtags to leverage their social efforts?

1. Engage with User-Generated Content in Real-Time

In order to really drive a social media movement, use hashtags to invite your audience to participate in a unique conversation dedicated to a specific campaign. It could be anything from contests, sneak peeks, giveaways, etc. that give your audience an added incentive to participate and immediately make your content stand out.

Instantly utilize users’ comments, video, and photos to become part of your campaign, and enrich your content to quickly spread it across all social platforms as part of a multichannel approach. This will easily harness the viral potential of your digital marketing campaign.

In the beginning of 2014, designer Marc Jacobs opened the doors to Marc Jacobs’ Tweet Shop, a concept store that fully embraces “social currency” that accepts messages with the hashtag #MJDaisyChain.

2. Bring Awareness to the Most Relevant Topics in Your Industry

Hashtags can really deliver a message across the social sphere, and unlike your website, they can easily be reinvented for a specific campaign or topic. Hashtags are a means to drive conversation and harness public support. By using the relevant hashtags in your industry, it can easily draw in a new audience.

Make sure to test them out for relevance before you get started. Therefore, you need to identify the hashtags of your industry’s influencers, but to truly gauge the relevance of your hashtags, there are a number of tools out there to easily pick up on the popularity and importance of particular hashtags.

3. Use it as a Local Social Networking Tool

Nowadays, every event has its own unique hashtag. And what better way to network than through a dedicated hashtag on events (e.g. #SXSW, #SMWF, etc.)? Whether you’re organizing the event yourself or you’re on an industry conference, press conference, seminar or even a webinar, use the hashtag to track and share your own updates to get picked up in the social event stream.