If you are a regular social media person then you would have come across many a post with a hashtag these days. Maybe you have also used it blindly, following the footsteps of others on your profile or in your social media circuit. However, have you wondered why most of the people use a hashtag? What is the importance of doing so? Have you heard of Twitter hashtags? Have you noticed why these days does trending topics on social media come with a hashtag attached to it? Probably you might have not given a thought until and unless you are a marketeer and trying to promote your or your client’s brand presence on the social media platforms with a hashtag. Today let me run you through the importance of a hashtag and if you can create your own.

Purpose Of Having A Hashtag: It all began as a humble idea where a tweeter adds the # symbol (popularly known as the hash key on your telephone) in front of a word or a word group with no spaces in between turning that phrase into a link. Moreover, by doing so you allow Twitter to categorize the tweet and group it with others who have tweeted using the same hashtag. So in a way, come to think of the hashtag as a keyword tag and it is quite simple to understand and when anybody searches for a particular hashtag then they might receive an entire list of tweets which contains that particular hashtag. It sounds wonderful as the person searching for the same is happy to see all the posts with that particular hashtag and so are you as the originator because you;

  • are projected to a new audience
  • have new participants to your conversation
  • opinions are visible to others and to whom it matters
  • found a like-minded audience who are eager to read what you have to say

But is that all one gets out of a hashtag? No, I am not done here because with the right hashtag added to your posts, the number of re-tweets go rising and in no time your posts go viral grabbing the attention of bigger and wider audience who are new and in turn you get a new set of followers too.

Benefits To A Marketeer: On a daily basis Twitter processes around 355 billion+ tweets and therefore a smart marketeer who does not want his tweet to get lost in the crowd, will carefully choose the most potent hashtags to reach out to his target audience eg: Domino’s Pizza UK reduced the price of its featured flavor by one cent each time someone tweeted with the hashtag #letsdolunch during pre-set times. Only one cent per order – but enough motivation to generate 85,000 tweets and an accumulation of “crowd-sourced savings” large enough to ensure some diners ended up with giant discounts.

So are you excited enough to create your own hashtag? It is not very difficult however you need to ascertain few things before you proceed.

  1. Decide upon a hashtag that you want to create.
  2. The hashtag should not be long and needs to be somewhat descriptive for your target audience to understand what it means.
  3. Run a search on the social media networks to find out if the hashtag is already taken or not.
  4. Register your hashtag on Twubs or hashtags.org

So now you are ready to start using your hashtag. Unlike a domain name, a hashtag does not have exclusivity as anybody can use it and there are times when someone might use it against you. These things cannot be controlled, however by setting up an automatic email alert tool might help you in identifying when and where your hashtag is being used ( I would suggest Twilert).

Initially it will only be you who will be using it, however do not worry as it will soon be picked up by your supporters and via them their supporters, in turn creating a chain. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and start ‘Hashtagging’!

Shaiju Mathew is an Indian author, social media strategist, blogger, reviewer, screenplay writer, and short film director, known for his 2010 book Knocked Up and short film Planchette. For more information please visit his webpage www.shaijumathew.com or blog www.shaiju-mathew.blogspot.in. You can also check him out on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaiju_Mathew)

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