The power of the hashtag

The power of the hashtag 1920 1280 Mazin Shammas

In August 2007, social media changed forever thanks to Chris Messina, the man credited with “inventing” the #hashtag.

Today, the hashtag is synonymous with social media. All one needs to do is log into X (formerly known as Twitter – apologies, but we still need to say that) and find a daily list of popular hashtags with thousands of posts. 

So why is that # symbol so critical?  

1). Brand visibility: by positioning a hashtag before a word or group of words your post becomes searchable, enabling people who may be interested in a topic to find it when they look for a keyword or specific hashtag, which increases the ‘discoverability’ of your content. This will create visibility for your brand and expand your audience reach which helps drive brand awareness and following. 

2). Hashtag campaigns: an integral component of any brand’s social media marketing strategy should be hashtag campaigns. These are campaigns that are promoted using brand-specific hashtags. Remember how viral the #IceBucketChallenge by the ALS Association became? According to reports, donations from the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge enabled the ALS Association to increase its annual funding for research around the world by 187 per cent. As long as they’re executed correctly, hashtag campaigns are an excellent approach to raising awareness of your brand, event, product launch, and so on. After identifying a clever hashtag, you share all content related to the campaign by featuring that tag. That enables you to tie all your campaign content together, motivates people to use the hashtag when creating their own related posts, and facilitates the tracking and measurement of campaign success. The hashtag campaign will increase visibility, drive engagement and encourage participation. 

3). Drive and contribute to conversations: using hashtags, you can initiate and participate in conversations. This helps show thought leadership and builds credibility online. 

4). Show your support for social issues: using a hashtag connected to a subject or awareness day, week or month is a great way to show your support for an important cause or issue. This can help you reach new audiences, forge relationships and positively increase engagement. Awareness days should be an important part of your social media strategy. Just remember though, if you’re going to post about an awareness day, make sure you are selective and make it relevant to your brand and audience. Don’t just post for the sake of posting. A good rule of thumb is to choose awareness days in which you are actively involved with events such as cake sales or fundraising runs. 

5). Identify and track competitors: hashtags are a great way to identify competition and their offerings. 

 Hashtags are a practical and affordable way to spread the word on social media, whether you’re a new company or just want to reach a wider audience.

Posts that include hashtags receive twice as many likes, clicks, reposts, and comments as those that don’t.

A well-crafted social media plan needs to incorporate a blend of trending, pertinent, and branded hashtags.