Businesses Urged To Hashtag Their Way To Social Media Success By Scott Dylan

It is almost impossible to escape the hashtag nowadays, and they form a key part of many business’ marketing strategies, whether they are a multinational corporation or a small business just starting out. Their function is simple; on social networks, any phrase (without spaces) which is preceded by a hash symbol (#) will create a ‘tag’. This hashtag then functions as a search mechanism, a categorise tool or a marketing ploy.

The general consensus is that the potential reach of the hashtag has not yet been fully realised by the business community. Scott Dylan, social media expert and digital marketing consultant says, “The hashtag has great potential as a marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. A great example of this is the ‘#SmallBusinessSaturday’ hashtag which was created by American Express; it helped owners to share insights about small business management, and collated the results in one easily accessible place, whilst also proving an invaluable promotional tool for all of the businesses which got a mention.”

One of the best ways to use hashtags is to use them in conjunction with some kind of promotion. Advertising company Radium discovered in a survey that 51% of those who responded to a survey were more willing to share company hashtags if they were awarded some form of discount or a chance to enter a prize draw as a result. These sorts of campaigns are prevalent on Twitter, and also on emerging networks such as Instagram and Pinterest, where users tag a company name in their tweet and are entered into a competition. The benefits are twofold; all of the followers of each entrant is exposed to the company hashtag and brand, and the business running the promotion can use the hashtag to keep track of all of their entrants as well as engaging in ongoing marketing.

Hashtags also open up a world of debate and completely open conversation that can be reliably tracked and followed. Whether conversing with other companies about strategies and past experiences, or interacting with clients and prospective customers about a brand-specific subject, starting up a hashtag invites people to get involved in a debate and engage with a certain dialogue.

Hashtags are also highly specific, and can target consumers relatively easily. A basic hashtag like ‘#newcar’ or ‘#movinghouse’ would instantly target the broad demographic of people searching for those terms. Again, this also allows tracking so that businesses can see the type of person who is tagging these terms in their tweets. Targeted marketing using Twitter and other social networks has never been easier.

Twitter is awash with examples of great hashtagging practice by businesses. Domino’s Pizza once encouraged their followers to add #letsdolunch to their tweets. Once the number of tweets hit 85,000, Domino’s dropped their prices significantly for the lunchtime period of that day, giving customers a reward for their engagement in the promotion. The White House, increasingly engaged with a social media audience, launched a ‘#40Dollars’ hashtag, prompting users to explain what they could buy with the added $40 that a tax break would offer their family. Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, EA Sports FIFA, Coca-Cola, Special K and Starbucks are also brands that have been praised for their innovative use of hashtags to increase brand awareness, to kick-start promotional pushes and to ultimately reach a broader range of consumers.

To find out more about digital communication and social media, visit http://www.scottdylan.net/

Issued by Dakota Digital. Please direct queries to Scott Dylan. Email: hello@scottdylan.net

About Scott Dylan:   A specialist in all things digital, Scott Dylan has worked alongside some of the most famous brands in the world in order to optimise web campaigns and generate astonishing results. From PPC to SEO via social media and content marketing, the web consultant has occupied the digital sphere for eleven years and can help to enhance any web campaign.

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