When the hashtag was first conceived on Twitter 10 years ago, brands were merely using it to punctuate content. Today, if a brand creates a hashtag, it is used in all media and formats as an integral part of a comms and marketing strategy.
"We see brands of all categories and industries using hashtags," said Twitter’s head of global brand strategy, Alex Josephson. "The hashtag has been a gateway for Twitter to become an integral part of a comms plan, versus just an add-on thing you throw on a tweet when you publish it."
Josephson explained that brands continue to innovate how they use hashtags, but several clear lessons and tips have come out of hashtag usage over the past decade.
The first, says Josephson, is that brands must be true to their values with every hashtag they use.
"Credibly participate in conversations and have an opinion on topics where you have a right to speak on a specific topic," he says. "Consumers already identify with your brand in a certain way."
Brands should also keep in mind that hashtags no longer live and die on Twitter. Tweets and hashtags show up on TV, in a press release or newspaper, or as part of experiential advertising and marketing.