Hashtags have been around for almost over a decade now and influence to a large extent the social media behaviour of the present generation. From drawing the attention of voters during elections, to getting people react to events to prompting movements like the trending #metoo, hashtags have become an important part of our social language. An article in the Review At NYU dubs these the “linguistic innovation in 21st century….” (Source:http://www.thereviewatnyu.com/all/2017/3/6/lets-hash-it-out-hashtags-as-a-linguistic-innovation-in-21st-century-political-discourse)
Our article explores the term and its uses across different social media channels by brands and businesses. It also specifies as to why you or the online marketing services should consider it for use in your social media marketing strategy.
The user-generated metadata tags, hashtags are commonly used in social networking sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc, to identify content with similar themes. The term has derived its nomenclature from the pound symbol (#) used as a prefix. The origin of hashtag can be traced to Chris Messina, a social technology expert who proposed it in 2007 in a tweet. The tweet appeared as:
“how do you feel about using #(pound0 for groups. As in #barcamp [msg] ??”
Though it was only the San Diego forest fires in Southern California in the same year that prompted people to start using the tags. Ever since then, hashtags have spread like wild fire with most social media platforms adopting these over time. Twitter brought these into their platform officially in 2009, followed by Instagram in 2010 and Facebook in 2013. Other platforms like Google+, Pinterest and very recently, YouTube too has followed suit.
In the world of social media, hashtags are the keys to getting your posts, images and videos in front of people. These keyword prefixes help in categorizing content of the same kind. For example, if you are searching for digital marketing in Instagram, you would be shown results that are tagged as #digitalmarketing. This is true for other social networking platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook, etc as well.
Digital marketing experts need to understand the benefits of strategic tagging. Instant engagement is just one of the benefits that comes with hashtagging correctly. If you want quick eyeballs on your new product, use a relevant hashtag and watch the views and likes soar. Hashtags in Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr make your post searchable without confining them to your profile alone. This enhances your reach as even those people who do not follow you will be able to see your content. Hashtags are one of the easiest ways to reach out to a mass of people very quickly.
One of the best ways to grow the social presence of your business across different networking platforms is to have a hashtag strategy. Though most platforms have almost a similar mechanism regarding how hashtags work, they have different rules regarding how they function within the platforms. For example, the likeforlike hashtag is very popular in Instagram and very effective in increasing engagement but it doesn’t return the same high rate of engagement when you use it in Pinterest. We will take a look at some of the most popular social media platforms and the strategies you or the digital marketing services should adopt to make hashtags work for your business when using these social networks.
Instagram is a platform driven by hashtags. The one route to success in Instagram besides having a crisp and clear feed is to use hashtags that define your business. The latest Instagram changes have made it possible for users to follow popular hashtags. Instagram is also testing if there could be a separate section for the tags other than the text body. Therefore, for attracting the right demographic for your business, you need to have a strong hashtag strategy.
Twitter was the platform that gave birth to the hashtags in 2007. Over the years, hashtags have evolved across the platform and have become important means of communication among the users of the platform. In Twitter, there are trending hashtags that appear in a box to the left. These are generally called Twitter Trends and you can view the worldwide as well as country wise trending tags. We shall cover this later in the article. What this means is that businesses need to use these tags to get their content before their target audience. Hashtags not only help in categorizing content but also in identifying the ones relevant for your business. You or the internet marketing services can study the kind of hashtags that your competitors are using to reach out to a similar kind of audience.
Pinterest is a visual search engine and social platform where millions of photos are shared or in its terminology pinned everyday by its 250 million users. This means there are a large number of users on the platform making it an ideal place to get new clients.
In Pinterest, hashtags can be searched in two ways. One way is to place the hashtag word into the Pinterest search bar. While the second one is to click on a hashtag in a description to get the feed.
Using hashtags on Facebook is different than using it on Instagram or Twitter. Though hashtags have been around since 2014, their use is still a mystery to most of the users of social media platforms. With only a room for 40 to 80 character limit, using many hashtags on Facebook will not add to your user engagement. Over the years, brands and businesses have been split into two fronts where some totally ignore them while others place some key hashtags strategically in the captions.
We will talk about the latter strategy when it comes to using hashtags.
YouTube was pretty late when it came to introducing hashtags on the platform. But now that they have done it, they are giving the tags more visibility. As of now, the hashtags appear above the video description making the videos searchable using these tags. The update that rolled out will now take the top three tags from the video description and display them above the latter. This means YouTubers and marketers need to use the best three hashtags in their hashtag list to improve their reach and engagement.
The problem with YouTube hashtag is that it pulls up other uploaded videos that use the same ones in their description. Say you search with #socialmedia, it will display the videos that have the tag #socialmedia in them. However, if you use the YouTube search bar and type in social media then you will get results that are totally different. Hashtags in YouTube do not work the same way as they do in Instagram or Twitter, but then hashtags are still effective in boosting your video’s search presence when in the platform.
Hashtags should be an important part of your social media marketing strategy of 2019. Instead of treating them as mere additions to your promotional texts, they should be well researched and used strategically to derive the maximum benefits. Therefore, a successful hashtag strategy that brings in brand engagement is going to be the one that uses hashtags in tune with the content instead of using them aimlessly in the promotional content. Should you want your brand and content to get the maximum views and stay ahead of the competition, it is better to engage proficient social media marketing services.