A hashtag is an unspaced expression or phrase prefixed with the hash character to create a tag. It can be categorized as a type of metadata tag. Expressions or words or phrases in post or messages on micro blogging and social networking services such as Google+, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram may be labelled or tagged by entering # before them, either as they turn up in a sentence or appended to it.
A hashtag acknowledges grouping of similarly tagged posts or messages, and allocates an electronic search to restore all posts or messages that contain it. In June 2014, ‘hashtag’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary due to its extensive use.
On social networking sites or micro blogging sites, hashtag can be placed anywhere within a sentence, either preceding it, following it as postscript or being incorporated as word within the sentence. It is considered the best way to group ideas, conversations and concepts. It becomes easy for people to find others with similar interests. Including an appropriate hashtag or set of hashtags in updates, can effectively help brands to reach new people interested in their products. Its important to use hashtags that not only illustrate the photos and business, but are also searched actively for and used on social networking sites.
Hashtags helps to claim a topic or niche and creates community by curating content surrounding that topic. As a marketer, you would like to reach your audience or community with the use of hashtag, particularly during twitter chats, events and webinars. It also helps to join in the conversation and engage with your audience. Hashtags are perhaps the most beneficial tool for present day social media marketing that are available at our disposal.
The use of hashtags is still a developing phenomenon and as such, protocol is negotiable. Excessive use can cause annoyance, frustration or confusion and might lead people to stop following you. Therefore, it is suggested to use hashtags only when they would assign value, rather than on every word in a post or message.
Hashtag makes it effortless for people to find and follow conversations and discussions about events, promotions and brands. They also help brands to track their promotion performance across various social media networks. It is very easy to determine target and track a promotion campaign with the use of hashtag.
The hashtag has proven to be an anchor of the social media marketing revolution. A single hashtag can hook up a conversation across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram. A community can be quickly formed from these conversations resulting into people with common interests being united. These conversations are the space where businesses accomplish their most influential market research.
These days, even when you cannot physically attend an event, you can still be part of the conversation, all thanks to hashtag. Experience the event by being part of the conversation before, during and post event.
The hashtag has become more than a functional tool for marketers; it has turned out to be a symbolic expression of modern age.