A “hashtag” or “#” as it appears on social media is a word or phrase preceded by the hashtag symbol (#) for example #PR #Hashtag. It is a quick way of finding selective messages on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
According to a recent survey, 58% of consumers say they use hashtags regularly, while 43% say they’re useful, 34% use them to search and 41% say they use them to communicate ideas or feelings. (http://radiumone.com/)
For PR professionals, hashtags are a strong marketing tool, used to promote business campaigns and new products. Online presence is crucial for most companies now and the ability to synchronise multi-platform social media and traditional media is an extremely effective way of reaching a wider audience and raising the profile of a brand.
Using trending hashtags is another good way to get involved in larger international campaigns. For example, using the hashtag #WorldFoodDay in a social media post adds your voice to topical discussions and helps your company engage with wider conversations.
From a PR perspective, developing a ‘branded’ hashtag for your business or event will also help unify conversation and bring interested parties together. It provides a means of two way conversation with your audience as well as helping you to recognise the market and gain an insight into online discussions. It is a great way to monitor what’s being said about your company and address any issues that may be important to your business.
Top Tips for effective hashtags:
• Keep hashtags to around six characters or less
• Don’t include spaces •
Don’t be a hashtag spammer. Try to stick to a maximum of two hashtags per tweet
• Don’t begin a hashtag with numberics, a hashtag must start with a letter
• Search your hashtag before using to check who is already using it and in what context