by simply choosing a descriptive word (or words) and putting the # symbol in front of it. The hashtagged words act like user created categories. These categories contain specific, relevant content for everyone to view and search. Hashtags also offer another layer of information or subtext to a post. Hashtagged words are usually describing the content or relevance of the post, or (because it’s the internet) something sarcastic.

Brands can easily find hashtags used by specific communities on social networks and incorporate them into their posts. Take the time to research your target demographic online and discover the hashtags they use and then tag your posts with the same one. Those posts will then get the attention of those audiences following a particular interest or conversation. One tactic we use at ZoomSphere is to tweet new features relevant to marketers with the hashtag #growthhacking – this tag is widely used by the marketing community online and we get improved engagement from those posts every time. Trending hashtags reflect high traffic real time conversations. If a hashtag is relevant to your brand’s industry then it is a great time to offer content that reflects its expertise.

Hashtags are great for branding across social media. Brands can organise their content under any banner they choose by adding hashtags to types of posts. When we have any infographics or reports using data from ZoomSphere we tag them #ZoomsphereAnalytics. Hashtags are also useful for branding events or causes. The hashtag #WWDC is now synonymous with Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference; the hashtag is almost like a brand of its own online. Apple doesn’t own any rights to the hashtagged word but their core brand is supported by it heavily on Twitter.

Groups of words or new words can also be used to support online marketing activities. A company that makes labels for example might decide to tag their posts #saymyname as a clever way to develop their brand online or as part of a campaign. This hashtag can be tracked so the scope of a campaign can be measured and ROI determined. Monitoring functions within social media tools will retrieve and report hashtag data for real time campaign results. Audience reach and influencers can all be revealed in just a few clicks. Remember that you don’t own a hashtag and anyone can use it so do your homework to make sure your campaign doesn’t backfire like #qantasluxury.

Implementing hashtags will bring brand awareness but only engaging content convince social users to click Follow or Like! If you want advice on creating and monitoring a hashtag campaign relevant to your business then click here.