hashtags# You’ve seen this symbol. It’s the number sign right? Or wait; aren’t they calling it a hashtag nowadays? This symbol has caused social media hype in recent years. It’s made a home for itself on nearly every social media platform, is used in text messages and was even the subject of a comedic SNL skit by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake. So why are people so obsessed with using the #hashtag and why is it important to content marketing? Here are some benefits of using this highly talked about symbol:

1)    It builds a community/ignites a conversation:

The use of a hashtag can build awareness about a particular topic, news story or campaign. Words preceded by the hashtag symbol become searchable by users in the online community; they also generate conversations. Let’s take, for example, reality television shows such as The Voice and America’s Got Talent. If you are an avid watcher of these programs, you know what I’m talking about. Conversations tend to be initiated by the judges of these shows to obtain viewer feedback on contestant performances. But reality shows aren’t the only ones who are trending online. Other popular shows like Game of Thrones, which uses the hashtag #GoT, are seeing increased online traffic. Comments and conversations are sparked by twists and turns in the story plot and in anticipation for future episodes. According to data collected from the season four premiere of Game of Thrones, which aired on April 6, 2014, a total of 95,000 Game of Thrones-related tweets were published during the hour-long premiere alone! Twitter traffic about GoT has reached 1.69 million since March 1st, 2014.

2)    It drives engagement:

unnamedOnce a conversation is established online and consequently considered “trending,” users may feel compelled to get involved. As members of online communities, it is important to us to have that sense of belonging. We want to know that our interests are shared by others in our community. Dunkin Donuts launched a campaign in October 2013 using the hashtag #mydunkin. The focus of this campaign has been to drive customer engagement and to show the brand’s position as a leading coffee and baked good provider in the industry. In addition to generating original content, users tend to share or “retweet” posts. In fact, tweets are 55% more likely to be retweeted if they contain a hashtag than tweets that don’t.

3)    It creates shareable content:

Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or another social media platform, the hashtag allows users to search for, view and share content related to trending topics. One of the most effective platforms to find and share content today is Instagram. As my colleague Vanessa Levin-Pompetzki points out, hashtags connect users. Let’s look at an example: Do you remember the polar vortex that swept the nation earlier this year, resulting in record low temperatures? Not only did the hashtag spark conversation among online users, but it also served as tool to connect users and categorize content on Instagram. If you search #polarvortex on Instragram you’ll stumble upon 116,891 posts! Talk about connection!

Content marketing is all about providing relevant and valuable content to your audience. Hashtags categorize and emphasize trending topics on a multitude of social media platforms. For more information on how to effectively use hashtags on specific platforms, check out this blog from my colleague Vanessa!

Bethany Haberstroh – Marketing Assistant

 

 

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