Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 920
, Published on 16 August 2015
A hashtag is a six letter small word but with a huge impact. If you ever need to show powerful online marketing is , tell him the word hashtag. It is a branding tools in which everything from a movie to a music video, political party campaigning for vote to anger against a government policy, launch of a new product of brand or coming of a new company in market summed up into one.
Basically in normal terms hashtag means a unique name starting with a pound sign (#) for e.g. #abkibaarmodisarkaar, #bajrangibhaijaan etc. The use of hashtag is not a new thing it was already in common use decades ago, the use of this symbol as a metadata element for tracking words is really not a new technology or practice. Back in the good old days of the IRC or Internet Relay Chat, circa 1988, hashtags were already used to categorize items like images, messages, video and other content into groups. Hashtags made it possible for IRC users to easily search for relevant and other associated content.
In today’s time the social media is following the same principle and its popularity picked up when it was first used by Chris Messina on twitter the date was 23 August, 2007. The tweet was: “how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups as in #barcamp [msg]?” and it brought attention to the world of hashtags.
With the coming of major events like literal wildfires in California back in October 2007 there was no stoppage to the popularity of hashtags and it spread like fire. With the use of hashtag #sandiegofire Nate Ridder, a twitter user was updating the world with what was going on in San Diego that time. Instead of posting it as “300,000 people have evacuated San Diego county till now”, he posted it as “#sandieogofire: 300,000 people evacuated in San Diego county till now”. Through this people worldwide were getting updated.
Social Media Networks Supporting Hashtags -
Twitter is obviously the founder of hashtags and it is main source for the generation of hashtags as compared to any other social media network. Daily thousands of hashtags are shared on twitter with the top most being trending on the main site. If you want to know about ins and outs of the world just browse to the trending page sidebars on main site you will get all the news and the reaction of the people trending it. There are various sites such as Hashtags.org which segregate hashtags on the basis of targeted audience.
It is usually the first in picking ideas make it a trend on social network but on hashtags they took time to catch up. Facebook started using it on June, 2013 when hashtags became craze and their existence can’t be ignored any longer. Just like twitter whenever you create a hashtag a unique url is created from which you and your target audience can click and connect with each other. Along with this you can also type the hashtag in the search bar and can view its content directly.
• Instagram –
It is mainly photos sharing medium and has gained much of popularity within short period of time. With the addition of hashtags you Instagram images can reach a wider audience as when people clicking on the link of the hashtag you shared will have direct view on your image which otherwise would remain private.
• Google+ -
Now even Google+ has joined the party of hashtags and hashtags in google post could be used for improving the search engine. Whenever you click on its hashtag it not just provide you with the original post but with all the post connected with it using the same hashtag.
Benefits of using hashtags-
• Help in increasing brand awareness –
Nowadays social media is not just place for connecting with other people, chatting and sharing images it has risen to a much bigger level. The numbers of users using various social mediums have risen tremendously. Its power mainly depends on how you use this base to target audience and popularise your product. For doing this you have to engage the user and what is more efficient way of doing that than hashtags.
Greater the engagement greater the awareness about the product. Greater the interest greater the chance of user buying or trying the product which will result into greater profitability.
1. #omgKFChasveg –
In order to tap vast vegetarian customer base KFC India had launched a campaign ‘So Veg So Good’ with a TVC featuring comedian and actor Vir Das. Prior to that they made foundation among the youth with hashtag #omgKFChasveg and the best comment were awarded with KFC vouchers.
Ipl sponsors Pepsi started a unique way of promoting IPL by encouraging making their own ad and send them. The best one will be featured as Pepsi main ad. The twitter saw huge number of people sharing and posting their own made video ads under the hashtag #CrashThepepsiIpl which made the campaign a huge success.
• Help in increasing awareness about social causes-
If you know ALS bucket challenge you will not ask how it helped spreading the cause. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is a disease which results in difficulty speaking, swallowing, and eventually breathing. In this challenge you have to dump bucket full of ice on your head and nominate a person to do that while making a video. If that person completes that challenge he has to make donation for ALS cause.
2014 saw lots of celebrities and top people taking part and posting video with hashtag #ALSICEBUCKETCHALLENGE which made it a huge success. The donation saw a tremendous increase as compared to previous year. It is shown in the graph.
• Hashtags help in increasing brand loyalty –
Hashtags can help providing you targeted audience for your product campaign because a user will only click on a trending hashtag if it suits his or her interest or find it interesting. It helps in segregating people based on their interest and likings. Through this companies can know who are their customers and can focus on them to build brand loyalty. For e.g. in 2014 Lok Sabha elections BJP hashtag #abkibaarmodisarkaar made them understand their popularity.
One important point the companies should keep in mind while using hashtag is that they should not overdo it. The below facts show why-
Hashtag use is increasing day by day and it seems it won’t stop easily.
This article has been authored by Ashish Gandhi from IIM Kashipur