27 May / 2013
The use of Hashtags has become a popular phenomenon nowadays, so far as social media sites are concerned. Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and a number of other social platforms are using hashtags to generate instantaneous associations with other users. The most interesting aspect is that, whenever a user makes use of hashtags to search for a specific word, they will be able to view all the posts which contain the hastagged word. The skill of using hashtags is really something which we much acquire, given the ever-increasing use of social media for communication.
Before going into strategic methods for using hashtags on Twitter, let us first understand what exactly a hashtag (#) is. It refers to a text which is utilized to put emphasis on a specific phrase or keyword, enabling users to track them conveniently. While the users themselves create these texts, Twitter keeps a track of these conversations. The texts are a brilliant way for promotion of brands, but should not be used more than thrice, to escape from being dubbed as spam.
Who can forget the way in which hashtagging triggered an out of the field battle amongst IPL (Indian Premier Fans) fans? For instance, Twitter released the Team Hashtag Battle, wherein both the contending teams for a particular match are denoted by hashtags (say, #MI, #RCB) over a “Match Centre”. This is in fact a kind of poll wherein supporters are allowed to hashtag their choicest team and make it emerge as the poll winner.
Here are some strategic ways to use hashtags over Twitter:
- Make use of existing hashtags: Similar hashtags can be used by more than one users or brands. If you incorporate an already used one in your tweet and click on the same, automatically it will be seen within the list of that hashtag utilized by others. This in turn augments the visibility of the campaign or tweet. For instance, if you wish to promote an apparel brand, a good idea is to find hashtags that others have used, such as- What’s your choice for #sweatshirts?
- Choose keywords properly: It is advisable to make use of keywords that people tend to enter when looking for information on any topic through search engines. This goes a long way in enhancing brand visibility. For instance a site promoting deals may incorporate the keyword ‘Online Deals India’, like Amazing deals available every 24 hours in #onlinedealsindia.
- Develop a hashtag campaign: This implies generating buzz around specific words linked to your brand. Pepsi India has made an outstanding use of hashtag campaign to add zeal to the IPL fever. A number of hashtags have been devised, most of them achieving great buzz online amongst audience, promoting goodwill and visibility. Some of the texts that Pepsi has used are #ILovePepsiIPLBecause, #IWatchPepsiIPLFor, #FavPepsiIPLTeam, #IfIWasAtPepsiIPL and so on.
- Encourage Live Tweet Chats: This requires some kind of preparation in advance. For example, an event management company working on behalf of IPL should ensure that the followers know beforehand that something would be tweeted about IPL after commencement of the match. One good method is to popularize the upcoming live chats through the use of phrases or words like #Mumbaiindians or #IPL. Following commencement of the match, chat could be of the forms like #ChennaiSuperKings and #KolkataKnightRiders are battling it up. Live chats like this get a lot of attention over social media.
- Bonus Hashtags: Time for some evaluation of brand effectiveness. For instance, if you are handling a show named ‘the dancing challenge India’ then normally the tweets would be like #dancingchallengeIndia. In case some interesting things happen, using bonus hashtags like #solodance india or #bharatnatyamindia will help you estimate the point in the campaign having the maximum engagement level.
In terms of arousing interest and keeping the audience engaged, Hashtags come of immense help. It has become a crucial part of social media platforms and apps, and surely has a long way to go.