Here’s the lowdown on the hashtag…
If you think Twitter invented the hashtag, you are sorely mistaken. Before Twitter took hold of the hashtag in the 1990’s, it was commonly referred to as the pound sign. You know, that thing you’ve all seen on your cell phone?
It was first used for “hashtag” purposes by Chris Messina in 2007 when he asked his followers how they felt about using the pound sign to isolate specific conversations on the microblogging platform.
Here’s Chris’ tweet:
How do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?
— Chris Messina (@chrismessina)
Twitter might not have invented the hashtag (#), but it certainly popularized it with the masses…which is realistically all that matters.
After that, Twitter spread the hashtag like wildfire.
Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and seemingly every other major digital platform followed suit and seized the symbol as their own. Today, hashtags are everywhere and an important part of everyday banter as well as marketing strategy.
What is the hashtag for?
- Hashtags make it easier for people to find and follow discussions about brands, events, and gossip
- They let brands track their performance
By tagging keywords and phrases related to a promotion across social media, you let a brand know what you, the consumer, are interested in and what you think is worthwhile engagement.
For your business, the hashtag is key to increasing your social media presence. You can only tap into the power of social media marketing if you can create engagement and conversations between your business and your targeted audiences through your content, and that’s where the hashtag comes in.
Utilize the power of the hashtag by:
- Researching, Creating Your Own #Hashtag, & Tracking the Results
Create a special hashtag for an event or campaign! Make sure it hasn’t been used before and is relevant to your brand, and then remind everyone to use it in related tweets. This gives you a way to simultaneously drive engagement and track your results to see what’s working and what is #flopping.
- Make a Common Connection
Hashtags can provide your business with insights regarding what your targeted customers are interested in and what they are talking about. You can establish common ground with these customers by simply clicking on a hashtag related to your business and brand and connecting with those regularly using with that hashtag.
Examples of how to use an everyday hashtag (Hint: keep it simple):
- Almost there………..! #TGIF
- Socks with sandals…so sexy! #kidding #epicfail
- Wow it’s been a rough week! Feeling like #britney2007
Examples of Branding #’s
- You can use your tagline! One of my faves that did it right is Verizon…#CanYouHearMeNow
- Campaign hashtag: use the name of your current marketing campaign. Great examples Skittles uses #ScoreTheRainbow to promote free vending machine locations
- You can also promote your sub-brands. Car brands are your most successful example of this use of hashtag. Ford uses a hashtag for each individual car to create a conversation separate from their main page. Examples: #FordF150 #FordExpedition