Why do We Hashtag?

You see them everywhere, Hashtags. Clever little sentence fragments beginning with what was once known as the pound sign on our telephone keypads. These little things are among the newest forms of communication to infiltrate modern language. For those of you who remember, in the 1990s, we would have shaken our heads at such a weird, and oddly simple concept, however, now these little Tic-Tac-Toe board symbols are popping up everywhere, becoming the corner stone of social media interaction, and therefore language itself in this new century. They link people to ideas, create interest, and drive ideas in modern industry. The “Hashtag” has become a benchmark move in marketing campaigns for both Instagram celebrities and fortune 500 companies everywhere.

So why hashtags? Why are they so effective? Why use them?

One of the best modern uses for creating a hashtag is that you can say a whole lot, without saying much at all. Think of social media giant, Twitter. Twitter only allows users to convey an idea by using a limited 120 characters. Ok twitter, challenge accepted. So how can a company tell consumers about an entire movement or project in such limited parameters? Ta-da! Enter the hashtag!

You see, a hashtag is the perfect way to condense a larger idea or campaign into a simple phrase for simpler communication. You can give people a hashtag, and then they can follow it and access more information about your topic. One of the best examples of this was Coke-a-Cola’s use of #shareacoke. Users were given a hashtag to follow, and gain all the brand familiarity and knowledge they desired just by searching on 3 simple words following the pound sign. Therefore, coke created a following just by clicking Ctrl 3, and typing 3 words.  With the repeat use of the hashtag, you could say they rehashed a thought repetitively, the more a customer sees the hashtag, the more they subconsciously relate it to the product…Nice work Coke, I’m sure someone in executive level marketing earned a very nice promotion from that!

Hashtags are also great for creating a buzz, hooking people’s curiosity, and making big announcements. Hashtags can be an elusive way to say nothing much, while saying a lot. They are mysterious, and people love a mystery. Your favorite Instagram celebrity, let’s call her Brittany, posts: #HePutARingOnIt …what?! Is Brittany engaged?! ….and just like that, people are intrigued, talking, speculating, and buzzing for days. TMZ would be going wild at this point. And Brittany gets hundreds of hits on Instagram, and probably earns enough money from that to finance her entire wedding… Geez, just wait until the vague hashtag about her first pregnancy….it could #breakTheInternet!

You don’t have to write much of anything, while also carrying an important message, and generating excitement and interest with a single phrase.

Excellent examples can be popular TV shows, like A&E’s The Walking Dead for example, when it returns to the network for a new season, the network can announce it in a simple hashtag like this one: #WalkingDeadReturns. In just 3 words, they created excitement, made an announcement, and communicated a larger idea to a chosen audience.

Oh my goodness! We cannot forget to mention the Bachelor, airing on ABC, the lifeblood of so many bored chardonnay-sipping housewives, getting excited on social media because #OMG #LindseyGetsARose.

Another key benefit to hash-tagging is that it does indeed connect you to your target audience. Granted, I’m not in The Bachelor audience at all, the idea of 20 women competing for one man while staged drama, tears, and wine flow is not quite my idea of entertainment, I do however admire their marketing tact. You see, as people begin to recognize your campaign, TV show, blog, whatever, they will start to follow you if they enjoy your announcements. Those who follow you can re-tweet your hashtag, or use your hashtag to post within the community that you created. This by the way folks, is how to make your campaign go “viral”. And before you know it, everyone you overhear while drinking your peppermint mocha at Starbucks is sitting around in their Bailey-Button UGG boots talking about “OMG, #ABC, #Lindsey…rose…Bachelor….tears….wine.”

I admit, it works. Just by seeing a hashtag in a TV commercial, I then went to the gym. In the women’s sauna, there is a TV, (and of course they assume that all women must want to watch the bachelor, therefore that TV is set to that show and there is no channel change button or remote in sight). So although I’m not a watcher of the show, I sat, I detoxed my pores, and then I did thoroughly horrify myself. I actually dismayed myself by remembering the media hashtags, and thinking, oh yeah, this must be the episode when # [insert that one girl’s name here]GetsARose….wait, What?! Did I just get sucked in?? Noooooo! They got me! It’s in my head!!! But folks, that’s proof isn’t it? Hashtags work.

Your Hashtag can become repeatable over time, implanting an association in the minds of potential customers, becoming familiar, and more distinctive. Hashtags are shortcuts, creates greater ease of access to your campaign information for consumers. Say a lot while typing very little, and become more alluring. These charming little symbols are the future, and that’s a big deal! Use them to be current, be relevant, to get into people’s heads, and be heard and seen! Start using hashtags today to unlock a world of marketing and networking opportunities!

Would you like to learn more about how social media, hashtags, and brand recognition can boost your business? Need a little more encouragement? How about some social media tact? Let TrainUp.com help you!

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