5 ways Smart Marketers Use #Hashtags

5 ways Smart Marketers Use #Hashtags

First, the context: a # is a way to: Organize and categorize content on social media Allow content to be found easily Allows social media users to more easily find and talk to people who may share similar interests While the #hashtag was never originally intended as a marketing tool, it has been used rather cleverly by many brands to get people to engage more and drive recall. Let’s go down the optimistic path here and look at 5 ways that brand owners can use #hashtags intelligently, to do more than just get their content organized. 5 smart ways for marketers to use hashtags 1. By research I mean really gather data on the trends, the patterns, and sentiments behind the most trending topics (of your industry). Also, listening is a good way to look for potential bot-fueled trends and weed them out. This is still a relatively low-lying fruit and as people’s search behavior evolves to web search with ‘#' habitually, marketers could seize some useful opportunities for their Google+, social media and blog content to show up. It can also help you go from generic to specific with your campaign target audience . Using a hashtag well to generate UGC would mean engaging people so they respond to your specific CTA (no, ‘join the discussion’ doesn’t count). Too few hashtags means you are missing an opportunity or several to engage meaningfully, better structure your content and help people find your brand and content. And it’s certainly not going to help your brand.

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Why do some marketers rock hashtags and others end up looking like 50 shades of boring? Here are 5 ways you can try to take your hashtag strategy from horror to heavenly!

It’s 2018 and pretty much everyone has figured out what this sign # in front of every second word on social media means. It all began in 2007 on Twitter, when Twitter user Chris Messina suggested it to gather people around a particular topic. In 2009, Twitter officially made it a thing, and there’s been no looking back since.

First, the context: a # is a way to:

  • Organize and categorize content on social media
  • Allow content to be found easily
  • Allows social media users to more easily find and talk to people who may share similar interests

While the #hashtag was never originally intended as a marketing tool, it has been used rather cleverly by many brands to get people to engage more and drive recall. But like any marketing tactic, hashtags too are a double-edged sword. Can be useful if done intelligently, else a liability that could severely impact brand reputation and backfire on the unsuspecting marketing team. One can imagine CMOs having sleepless nights with all these loose cannons flying about in cyberspace – from irresponsible celebrity endorsers to voluble (or irate) employees and business partners.

Let’s go down the optimistic path here and look at 5 ways that brand owners can use #hashtags intelligently, to do more than just get their content organized.

5 smart ways for marketers to use hashtags

1. As a social listening tool: the temptation is always to start your own hashtag and become a social superstar while at it. But the more practical approach is taking the trouble to research the hashtags that are already resonating with your audience . By research I mean really gather data on the trends, the patterns, and sentiments behind the most trending topics (of your industry).

There are many apps available to do this from Sprout to Trendsmap and RiteTag. As a bonus? If you really want to learn about your customer’s world, do this not just for your industry, but for other areas that matter to your customers and potential audiences. That gives you the broader context of their preferences and sentiments as well. Using that insight to develop social marketing content may make the difference between a so-so campaign and one that hits the sweet spot with audiences.

Also, listening is a good way to look for potential bot-fueled trends and weed them out. Numbers don’t often give you the full picture – a trending hashtag with a million shares or retweets could be the work of a bot army or a retweet farm. It’s important to understand the context and sentiment before blindly jumping onto a trending hashtag bandwagon.

2. Use hashtags as search boosters: hashtags are super useful for getting your content found more often. Beyond all you do in SEO and paid search, hashtags can help all content- from videos to articles – to be found more easily and by a wider audience than just your followers . When you enter a # in a video’s title or description, for example, audiences can find your video whenever they search for content related to that hashtag. Similarly, on social media, of course, your content is part of the stream of content that shows up when a user goes to a hashtag page and increases the impressions. But most importantly, search engines have started incorporating hashtags into…

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