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Little Bird Marketing

Notes from the Nest

Hashtags: Fun & Games or Business Opportunity?

Date: August 27 2015

Generations before us asked, "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?" New generations have their own variations on this theme, but most of them now seem focused on platform releases. To that end I ask modern questions:

"Do you remember the lost week of time when you finally signed up for Facebook?"

"What was your first tweet?" 

But what about advances on these platforms? How many times have you been merrily going along in your work only to find that a completely new trend has arisen and you are behind before you knew it was even going? Enter the hashtag. In a noisy world of trends and platform changes, the humble hashtag arose quietly and revolutionized conversations. And yet, and yet, I still get heartfelt confessions from the digitally exasperated inquiring on point of the hashtag.

Their exasperation is the perfect segue to their solution. People find themselves exhausted by social media because of the magnitude of volume of information and it is precisely this noisy world the hashtag was created to conquer. With the clever use of hashtags I can filter out conversations I don't want and narrow my focus on what I want to see. For example, if I want to connect with my group of friends who attended Emerging Women Live in 2015 I no longer have to limit my connections to a particular platform. Instead I can search by our chosen hashtag of #EW2015. 

Then it all just gets crazy. Hashtags are also a fun and funny way to make a point. You've seen them from the short #tbt to the long and almost unintelligible #somepeopleknownothingbutactliketheyknoweverything. But what about hashtags for business?

THE GOOD - Jimmy Fallon has probably used the hashtag for the maximum brand exposure. The level of public participation skyrockets his popularity with heavy engagement on every platform. You will now lose an entire afternoon watching hilarious hashtag skits. It will be worth it. Enjoy. 

THE BAD - Not too many forget the 2012 use of #susanalbumparty by Susan Boyle to promote her new album party. What was meant to read as "Susan Album Party" just didn't read that way to tens of thousands. 'Nough said. 

THE UGLY - The heavy usage of #SochiProblems during the Olympics categorized horrible and then often hilarious posts about the massive problems happening half a world away to most of us.  Organizations can learn quickly the power of the hashtag vicariously through the bruises suffered as the world watched the debacle of the Russians hosting of the Olympics. 

So how do you deliver the good and avoid the bad and the ugly? Before you incorporate the use of hashtags, do a little research and find out what you can own. If you have a unique brand name check if anyone else is using it and for what purpose. If you already use hashtags at your company spend a bit of time rethinking strategy or freshening up your content. Many hashtags are created daily so a vigilant watch on your brand can save embarrassment in the long run. 

Still confused? Want more ideas? Hungry for a list of best practices?  DOWNLOAD MY FREE GUIDE for #hashtag excellence!

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FREE DOWNLOAD

You now have lift-off! Enjoy. #hastagstrategy #littlebird

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