There are many digital marketing tactics that have come from the growing use of social media properties. Hashtag marketing is one of them. As is the case with most online marketing strategies, the development of hashtag marketing has moved quickly – and just as quickly as it became a regular symbol within popular culture, it became a valuable marketing tool. There are several ways any marketing agency or business can use hashtag marketing strategies to increase social posting engagement, connect with their audience, and collect valuable data. The best part about this fast-growing strategy is that it’s not really hard to find success once the right tools are in place.
Before diving into what hashtags can do to elevate marketing agency strategies, however, you might be asking, “What actually is a hashtag?” It’s a good question, and a good place to start.
History of the hashtag
Hashtags saw initial popularity in 2007 on the social media platform, Twitter, after one user suggested that the pound – or hash – symbol, #, be used within tweets to track conversations around a single topic. The idea took off, and by 2009 all Twitter hashtags became linkable so that anyone looking for tweets including the same hashtag could see every tweet associated with that topic. Hashtags became so popular and deeply ingrained into popular culture that in 2013, social media titan Facebook adapted them for use on their own platform, further closing the gap between the functions that set the two platforms apart.
What platforms support hashtag marketing strategies?
Nearly all social media platforms utilize hashtags. The need for being able to tune out content you don’t want to see and focus on content you do want to see is seemingly never-ending for social media users. Hashtags make it very easy for users to search for and be a part of the content they want. It’s part of the reason social media is so popular, and part of what makes social media so valuable to marketers.
Any business just getting into the hashtag marketing game should focus on the platforms where hashtags are most widely used and where daily use commonly occurs. This includes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. From this list, take a look at where your business already sees the most traffic and choose the top contenders from there to experiment with strategy.
It’s worth noting that content on Instagram and Twitter relies heavily on hashtags, making hashtags all the more important in strategy on these platforms. Users on Instagram, for instance, include them so frequently in evergreen content that there are many hashtag strategies applicable to just that platform alone. Thanks to algorithmic advances, social media strategies are constantly evolving. Marketers and businesses looking to strengthen their digital marketing performance should always be on the lookout for ways to develop their hashtag marketing strategies on each platform through data analysis.
Hashtag strategies to start using today
As long as you have social media properties, you can start exploring hashtag strategies. There are several different classifications of hashtags out there, but a few stand out as the most popular and commonly used in addition to being very beneficial. Starting with the following types will help to grab the low hanging fruit.
Trending hashtags – Want to be part of the conversation? Use a hashtag that’s trending as part of your post. This will do two things; show to your current audience that you’re paying attention to relevant topics and put your post in front of the big, active audience that’s following or searching for the content associated with that hashtag.
It’s also not difficult to figure out what hashtag is currently trending. For example, Twitter has a dashboard view built in to show users what’s being talked about the most on their platform. This makes trending hashtag research a breeze – and free.
Community hashtags – Location, location, location. Yes, hashtags can help put you on the map, literally, by grouping you into a collection of posts with a hashtagged location. By including #NewYorkCity or #NYC on a post, anyone who is following that hashtag will get served your content. And for companies hoping to attract local business, this can help to put you in front of your targeted audience of locals.
Branded hashtags – These hashtags are specific to your brand, business, event, or partnership and often include your brand or business name as part of the full tag. Essentially, branded hashtags are phrases you control the narrative of. If you want to create a buzz around your brand, this is one way to further brand awareness. If successful enough, these hashtags can become your brand’s own subset of community hashtags where users can connect over products, services, or experiences.
Using hashtags correctly can lead to gathering some seriously valuable data, though it’s easy to miss the mark if not done properly. And while intricate hashtag strategies exist for those with a deeper understanding of how to use them, these are the easiest ways a marketing agency can implement hashtag strategies into their social media activity and digital marketing efforts.
Why hashtag strategies are a valuable marketing tool
It’s always important to keep a pulse on the newest tactics within the marketing industry, even if your team may not directly have a need to use them on every project. But to put things further in perspective, times have changed. Many of even the most traditional advertising or marketing agencies have adapted to some form of digital marketing, albeit just having a small presence on social media. Any marketing agency not currently utilizing social media marketing as part of their overall strategy should take a look at our blog on why social media is important in today’s marketing culture and consider the benefits. Posts including at least one hashtag on platforms like Instagram can see a 70% engagement increase as opposed to posts without any. Not only does that show hashtag marketing is important, it shows that it works. Any marketing agency hoping to stretch their dollar for organic reach on social media can benefit from this tiny change.
Even outside of social media platforms, however, the concept behind hashtag marketing – tagging and collecting data centered around a single keyword – is being used in critical marketing strategies like SEO already. These tactics include categorizing blog topics on websites and target keyword analysis. If your marketing agency values those tactics, they should certainly be implemented wherever they can, at the very least for optimization’s sake.
Hashtags may have once been predicted to be but another passing internet fad, but as long as social media plays a role in digital marketing and paid advertising strategies, the hashtag won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. And if that’s the only justification of its value you can take away from all of this information? It’s still #enough.
Taylor Brand Group is a branding agency located in downtown Lancaster, PA, offering a wide range of marketing agency services and ad agency capabilities. With expertise in rebranding, brand research, brand messaging, and brand development, Taylor Brand Group is able to offer a fresh perspective on marketing agency and advertising services such as public relations, media advertising, content marketing, digital marketing strategy, and social media management. To learn more about how we can help take your brand to the next level, visit us on social media or contact us today.