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Hashtag; a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media platforms to identify messages on a specific topic.

The hashtag is a relatively new trend in social media, originating on Twitter in 2007 as a way to interact with specific topics and groups. What started as a Twitter trend has quickly worked its way into several different social channels, with Facebook and Instagram being just a few of the top examples. The hashtag has allowed social users to reach and attract new target audiences that they may not have been able to reach otherwise. Similarly, hashtags have opened a new door for marketing professionals to promote their company’s messages in new ways as well.  

1. Reach New Customers:

For marketing professionals, an important content objective is to be highly targeted, discoverable, and shareable. The hashtag has made these objectives easily tangible, becoming a key pillar for digital content marketing! The hashtag can be utilized to reach new customers, whether through demographic or geographic means. For example, if you want to target an audience in New York City, marketing professionals could utilize the hashtags, #NYC, #NewYorkCity, or #TheCityThatNeverSleeps. All of these unique hashtags are specified to that specific geographic location, thus allowing your post to be viewable to individuals in that location. The same can be said when specifying your hashtag to specific industries or ideas. Hashtags have the amazing ability to be specified to the exact audience that you want to reach, as long as the hashtag is commonly used among the target audience. Because of this, the opportunities to reach new customers and audiences are endless and tangible by simply leveraging hashtags.

2. Increase Organic Searches:

The hashtag is also extremely beneficial to marketing professionals in the aspect that they’re FREE! Hashtags help boost your company or brand’s organic searches, reducing the need for paid/sponsored marketing efforts! Your content can be easily found when utilizing trending hashtags within your industry. For example, if a new technology was created that could benefit the health industry, trending hashtags to use would be #DigitalHealth, #HealthTech, #Innovation, or #Technology. All of these hashtags are commonly searched among industry professionals and would allow for more views of your company and your newly developed product!

3. Hashtag Subscriptions:

Did you know that social channels give you the option to subscribe to specific hashtags? This has become especially essential for industry professionals because it provides them the opportunity to have immediate notice of any trending topics within their area of expertise where they may wish to jump in on the conversation as a means to position their company or brand as a thought leader. As discussed above, for health or technology-focused companies, they may be interested in subscribing to the hashtags #DigitalHealth or #HealthTech. This would allow posts with those specific hashtags to show up in their newsfeed so that they could stay up to date with industry trends or new innovations being developed! Hashtag subscriptions are very important in marketing because they allow your posts to gain views and potential engagement from users who subscribe to the hashtags used in your post and who otherwise wouldn’t see your content being posted as they may not follow your page directly.

4. Build a Community:

Hashtags also now make it possible to build an online community! Through the use of unique hashtags, there’s an opportunity to interact with each other like never before. Have you picked up on the new wedding hashtag frenzy? People are choosing distinct, usually one-of-a-kind, wedding hashtags so that they can build an online collection of photos from their wedding day. As an example, a friend was marrying someone with the last name King and was planning to change her name (yes, my last name is also King, but it’s my maiden name! Will be changing it to Morrison in September 2021!), and her wedding hashtag was #IJustCantWaitToBeKing. (If you’ve seen the Lion King, you’ll understand). This unique hashtag allowed her to build an easy-to-find online collection of photos from friends and family that attended the wedding!

The same concept can be used in marketing a business, organization or brand. For example, if your organization recently attended an event, there could be a trending hashtag for the event that is being used by attendees in their social posts about the event! This would allow your company to jump into the trend and interact with other groups and individuals that attended the event, thus, creating an online community.

5. Join Trending Topics:

It’s no secret that hashtags are being used today to bring attention to trending topics or events, as described above. This can be especially recognized in the political setting or in events that are shaking the world. An example of this would be the recent wildfire in Australia. This world event was the most trending topic on social media at the time. People were posting content with hashtags such as #AustralianWildfire or #PrayersForAustralia. These hashtags enabled people to search and easily join into the related conversations that were occurring on any given social platform. GoFundMe’s were especially trending, (dare I say, viral?) during this time as they smartly leveraged the hashtags mentioned which gave them greater visibility to people who were willing to donate and help.

When utilized correctly, the hashtag can increase awareness about your organization as well as potentially drive FREE traffic to your website and help you to join an online community of like-minded individuals. When it comes to the hashtag, the opportunities are endless for marketing professionals, and we can certainly expect this already popular trend to evolve and continue to be a subject of conversation, as the social platforms themselves as well as user behavior evolve as well.

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About the Author:

Jaclyn King is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Butler Technologies. Butler Technologies is a printed electronics solution provider that develops User Interface and Printed Electronics.

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