Hashtags are Important – Who knew!

“Hashtags can make the difference between being lost or found online.” –inspiretothrive.com

Hashtags or the tic-tac-toe sign # before a word or phrase and have taken on great significance to act as a keyword for the content put up on social media and other visible platforms. Hashtags are important – as people have now discovered – not just from a personal standpoint but also from a business perspective to become highly searchable and be part of more conversations and with a much wider audience. #Hashtags have become ubiquitous especially on social media where people use them to connect one subject to a particular message. Even if you are one of those people who find this sign annoying or just don’t like it, the trend seems to convey that Hashtags are important and are here to stay.  You know what’s funny?  If the word Hashtags is written without capital ‘H’, the whole word gets underlined by that red squiggly line indicating that it is misspelt! Try it!

Hashtags are important now and are a seemingly vital portion of ‘conversations’ held on social media. We know that there thousands of such conversations over the large number of social media sites and this #sign helps to find a particular content. Customers can follow discussions on a particular topic, company, brand and other experiences related to customer service. Companies too can keep tabs on conversations that surround their brand and offerings and also keep abreast on the events and happenings in their industry and other industries that interest them.

Do you think Hashtags are important? What does your company use this #sign for?

  • In the realm of building online support, discussions and groups using Hashtags and monitoring them helps companies keep a finger on the pulse of the target audience and also a larger set of people. We discussed that companies must keep in touch with whatever is being discussed regarding their brand and offerings else they will not be able to determine what their customers and others feel about them and therefore will not be able to make any improvements where required. Hashtags are important even to keep a check on the overall ‘feel’ and reputation of your company. Searching for comments, complaints and other grievances would allow companies to be proactive in resolving them before they blow out of proportion and cause damage. When companies can answer queries, resolve issues and be ‘there’ for their customers, this reinforces the perspective of the company’s commitment to excellent customer service.
  • Hashtags are important for receiving focused updates and information for a particular subject – could be a product, company, high profile customer and even competition. Just adding ‘the sign’ before the word or phrase you are searching for, will allow you to follow the updates on whatever subject you seek information and updates. For example #followed by your competitor’s name, will bring out updates on how they are doing with regard to popularity, the kind of complaints they receive, how they resolve it, what customers are saying about them and other such vital information that your company can use to move ahead of the competition.
  • Hashtags allow you to search for professional associates and provide updates on the conversations they may be part of and even join in the ‘conversations’ to keep abreast of a number of industry and customer relevant topics and issues.
  • When your company is ‘following’ and remaining aware of customers – both existing and potential – and also other industry relevant information, it will be easier to highlight your events, launches and promotional activities through the use of particular keywords preceded by a #sign. This makes your events and activities more easily searchable and also allows your company to target groups from where a better response and conversion rate is expected.

A word of caution though! While Hashtags are important don’t kill their utility and lose your reliability by overusing them or using them incorrectly.

To avoid ‘killing’ the usefulness of Hashtags for your efforts, it would be good to put in place a strategy for their use. Do you have a strategy in place? Do you think such a strategy is required?

– Avoid using Hashtags for every small event or business promotion. It would be best to reserve these for major events and launches. Overuse of anything tends to reduce its importance and lose its relevance very soon. Incorrect usage too can prove to be highly disastrous and have the opposite reaction for your business and hence it is prudent to have a well-defined and robust Hashtags strategy in place.

– Your company must first ascertain what they expect to derive from their marketing and social media strategies. The aim must be defined – this could more ‘traffic’ to the website and social media sites, or increased interaction and engagement with customers, keeping an eye on the reactions to your company and its products or all of these aspects. Keeping the aim in mind, define your marketing and Hashtags strategy.

– Before deciding whether to use Hashtags, how to use them and when to use them ensure that you research it as a tool. An in-depth search will ensure that you don’t use them incorrectly and face mortification or be the centre of unwanted attention and humiliating jokes. Hashtags are important and therefore it is necessary to use them to align your company and brand with a particular message, cause, event or other socially relevant issues that your company endorses and feels strongly about.

– Choose the Hashtags preceded word or phrase carefully. Create a word or phrase if required as long as it is high impact and will have an indelible impression on the mind of the readers and customers. Once you have chosen some particular ones – stick to them for uniformity and consistency to enable more readership and staying power amongst the viewers. In addition, these few words or phrases will be more easily tracked by your team responsible for this particular activity.

– There is popular TV channel that uses this sign effectively – such that when you hear the word Hashtag, the first channel that comes to mind is the one. So Hashtags are important in the world outside of the virtual space too and can create the kind of hype and impression being sought.

– The increasing trend moving towards Hashtag usage has also encouraged the production and use of software that track the success of a company’s efforts through the use of this sign. By tracking the performance of your company’s efforts through such well-designed and structured methods, you save yourself vital time and effort and can improve or even completely remove a campaign, depending on its performance.

We are saying what seems to be the common feel and pulse – that Hashtags are important. However, anyone running a business and even from personal life experiences, it is common knowledge that anything that is not handled carefully can easily overpower and lead to unexpected disasters and trouble. Therefore, a meticulous and judicious Hashtag plan and strategy must be in place, followed by a robust implementation and follow up plan. Ensure that your company puts together a dedicated team of experts to manage this strategy. Despite the expertise, the team should be regularly trained and be required to research the latest trends and develop updated strategies to surround your marketing and social media events. Hashtags are important but the crucial point to be kept in mind is that their usage is still in a nascent stage and would most certainly undergo changes. The good news is that due to their universal presence and flexibility, companies can fashion their usage to best suit their needs and find creative methods of applying them for long term success. ####!

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