#Hashtag: a word or phrase preceded by a hash (#) symbol, used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest.
Love them or hate them, hashtags aren’t going away anytime soon. Though they’ve become stigmatised in our culture, they actually hold tremendous value for your organisation when used within reason. Not only do hashtags add a bit of colour and snaz to the end of your tweets, but more importantly, they provide new ways to categorise content, engage in conversation, and measure communication.
Categorise. First introduced on Twitter in 2007, hashtags allow you to label and organise online content into different categories, making it easier for users to view streams of topic-specific messages. Not only does this clear the clutter of online content, but also allows you to reach your audiences more effectively.
How to do it – Think about different topics or categories your prospective followers would be interested in, and use relevant tags, or even create your own hashtag. Just like, this can be a powerful tool, allowing you to keep track of content specifically related to your organisation. When making your own hashtags, be sure they’re unique, easy to understand, memorable and hold no negative implications or associations.
Conversation. Hashtags are generally used to keep track of online conversations, lacing together a stream of tweets or posts around one basic topic. TV shows like #MasterChefAU, #TheBlock, and #QandA are just a few examples which have capitalised on this conversational power, inviting their audiences to join in on discussions about onscreen happenings. This not only creates an integrated experience, but also allows you to moderate discussions and build communities and connections around different topics, events or themes.
How to do it – Using a simple call to action, such as “What's your favourite flavour? Tag your tweets with #GGbiscuits to join in on the conversation” can invite interaction between you and your followers, working wonders for your relationship.
Monitor and Measure Communication. Using hashtags doesn’t stop at publishing tweets or Instagram posts. Just like any other communications tactic, measurement is extremely important and can help you gain useful information to inform future campaigns and communication outreach. Hashtags simplify this, allowing you to track mentions, identify key events and influencers and compare engagement versus other organisations, while uncovering other useful insights.
How to do it – A variety of tools are available online to help you measure the success of your hashtag campaign.
So, remember the three Cs of hashtagging when deciding if and when hashtags fit into your communications strategy. If your hashtags don’t fulfill these roles, #leavethemout.