"We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.” – Erik Qualman
Hashtags are powerful social media marketing tools but dependent on their effective and strategic usage. For entrepreneurs hoping to forge movements, grow their personal brand, generate interest in their startups, and define the future of their company, hashtags are a basic requirement. A Hashtag, which is a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic, can also help you spark, search and unite conversations happening across the internet, and can attract new followers to your accounts.
Remember the power of #BringBackOurGirls hashtag in Nigeria, It brought the world to understand that something terrible happened in a small village called Chibok. It literally put that settlement on the world map and gave a strong voice to the movement. Therefore, the power of hashtags in social media marketing can never be over emphasized.
Even Chris Messina (@chrismessina), the creator of hashtag and former Google designer, didn’t realize the marketing potential hashtags would eventually possess as he said that his primary goal was “to establish a method for people to converse about topics with little effort on Twitter”.
The real power of hashtags grows when you start to get creative, gather data, and really engage and with carefulness and over usage. Don’t overdo it with hashtags. In fact, tweets with a single hashtag tend to get 21 percent more engagement than those with three or more. Create your own unique hashtag. Invent a hashtag that describes your company or product. Using hashtags allows you to keep a steady stream of your social media content in search results so that even those watching can follow along and other users can see the thread using the hashtag search queries.
To leverage on the marketing potential of social media for you brand, Set up hashtags that encourage users to upload photos for the chance to be featured on your brand’s profile or homepage. Getting your followers and fans involved in submitting content themselves makes them feel as though they are part of your brand, and also makes it easier for you to regularly update your accounts.
Hashtags have also been used to grow visibility and virality of events. Most events organizers use a customized hashtag e.g #TechpointInspired #DigitalSkills4Africa and #GTBankPrincipalsCup before, during and after the event to create a discourse around the event and also set narratives to proper perspectives.
Sometimes when customized hashtags fail to bring the required traffic to your brand, check out trending lists (right side of Twitter) to see what people are talking about, and determine whether you can use that popularity to steer some traffic your way. You’ll likely find that most of the trending items are topical, so make sure that your content still sounds authentic if you decide to jump in on a trending hashtag. Though Twitter and Instagram are one of the most impactful media in terms of hashtags, you can start a multi-medium hashtag campaign for your brand all social media channels. Don't wait, start now!!!