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Yes, Hashtags are a Big Deal
By: Janet Kalandranis
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Many brands have shied away from the whole hashtag craze. Assuming it is only for younger, cooler brands or those that have a very specific consumer product. But hashtags are a real thing — an actual marketing tool. It’s time that brands learn what they can provide and start using them for specific marketing strategies. Social media isn’t going away, so ignoring the tactics and tools available only leave certain brands at a disadvantage. Instead it’s more beneficial for brands to understand the specifics and identify how they can use these tools to their advantage. So let’s hashtag it out, and get serious about this useful (and fun) social media tool.

When trying to understand hashtags it’s important that brands see their value. It’s essentially a newer, more modern way to categorize things. It’s like the card catalog of the 21st century. Hashtags provide a way for programs to categorize images, videos, and posts so users are able to quickly search content that is relevant for them. See, not so scary at all. And this ability to categorize items is useful to brands in a couple of key ways.

Promotion. Hashtags are a great way for a brand to promote themselves. And by rewarding customers with a giveaway or discount, users are more likely to share brand hashtags. This also allows the brand to track activity online and determine the success of the program. All of this happens while customers are essentially promoting the brand via a hashtag.

Conversation. These little number symbol sayings are a great way to start and track conversation. By creating a hashtag that is consistently used, brands are able to start communicating and then allow users to take over while still using the same hashtag. It’s like a little reminder that this one conversation or this one idea has legs and it’s tied to a hashtag.

Targeting. Brands love when they can target a specific customer set and hashtags are a great way to accomplish this. By creating a hashtag that talks to a specific audience they are more likely to search and find a brand. For example #newmom appeals to those with newborns, and while connecting a customer set, the brand is able to reach this group with very specific messages.

Innovations. Hashtags are young, so it’s really an open field of what can be done with this little marketing tool. Some brands are creating a system to purchase products with hashtags or creating a secret distribution channel. And just recently, it was announced that hashtags are now clickable on Facebook. Hashtags have the ability to grow and right now each brand can be part of the fun.

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About the Author
Janet Kalandranis is here to give you all the little brand thoughts that run through her head with a little dash of spice. Find her online here.
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