Hashtags and businesses

Jul 3, 2014

Hashtags have proven to be more than just a trend. While Twitter catapulted it to our daily map in the year 2007, it’s been adapted by other platforms for a better user experience. Nowadays, hashtags are everywhere and are being used by both users and businesses.

Just before jumping into the details, let’s strip down to the basics of hashtags.

hashtag

What is a hashtag?

Hashtags are specific keywords or an unspaced phrase that creates a link when this symbol # is placed together with it. Hashtags are used to mark, identify and categorize topics and ideas together that have the same hashtag. They are commonly used acrossed social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and Instagram. They could range from #throwback, #cafehunt to #TGIF.

trends hashtag

The term trending is also associated with hashtags, as these are topics that are hashtaged and have become very popular. Trending commonly takes places on Twitter when a particular hashtag has been used repeatedly by many users, it would appear on a column specially catered to popular hashtags used and therefor, is now trending.  

Hashtags aren’t limited to discussing topics. As for ecommerce, they have also become an integral part of one’s campaign. If your brand is still not using it, then you are passing up on revenue-growing opportunities.

To maximize the potential of hashtags for your online store, you need to understand the different areas that hashtags are beneficial to your business.

Targeted Market Studies

Hashtags give you a refined and targeted experience surrounding different topics. It lets you in on what the current attitude of your market towards a certain topic is as well as the kind of conversations that are currently creating a buzz amongst netizens. For example, if  you’re running an online store selling apparels hashtags such as, #ootd (outfit of the day), #streetwear or #fashion could be helpful for your research.

Not only will this help you in gaining more knowledge about your audience. It will also help you create better marketing strategies that are more focused on what interests them.

Monitor your online visibility (and reputation)

Instead of researching exhaustively about what your market is saying about you, hashtags have made it a lot easier for you to monitor your online visibility.

For example, take Forever 21, a famous clothing store. It has popularized #forever21 or #f21 as their brand's hashtag. With that, they can easily type that hashtag in into search bars and find out what their market is saying about them.

hashtag f21

This is a great way for you to know how you can better your products and services at the same time, address specific customer concerns. It acts as an indirect form of feedback. Considering most people take to online to vent out their comments, hashtags are a big aid in getting you access to these comments and hopefully, learning how to better your brand.

Increases Brand and product Awareness

First and foremost, as mentioned earlier, you need to define your brand hashtag that would generalize your entire content before breaking down the hashtag into pinpointing at your products. Whether it’s to hype up a new product or revamp an old one, incorporating hashtags are a brilliant means to increasing brand awareness and strengthening your ecommerce site..

For example, an online store called MoreThanClothes is running a new campaign for the latest line of products they have, displaying it across all social media platforms with a chosen hashtag in the headlines, will definitely drive your market’s curiosity and interest. What’s more is they can easily repost your uploads with the same hashtag, thereby tapping into your market’s connections.

Here is an example of how it should look like on a Tweet, Facebook Status or Instagram Caption:
““We have just launched our latest line of Maxi Dresses, place an order now. #MoreThanClothesSG #Collection72”
OR
“We have just launched #Collection72. This collection features an array of Maxi Dresses! #MoreThanClothesSG”

Consider this to be a strong driving force to draw in a bigger market, generating greater web traffic to your main store as well as better revenue.

Tailor-fits product campaigns and contests

As I pointed earlier, hashtags have the power to help you understand your market in such a way that you learn what interests them and what doesn’t. When the time comes you need to conduct contests and other special marketing campaigns, you’ll be able to tailor-fit it better.

Take for example a giveaway contest. Hashtags will help you find out what the favorite products of your market are. For example, you’re running a contest and you’re giving away a few pairs of shoes to the winners. An official hashtag of say, #winandwearapair could get the ball rolling.

This way, you’ll know for sure people would be more engaged and your campaigns would move forward. Moreover, it’s far easier to track the contest your brand is conducting.

You can gain access to the latest news and updates

Say you’re on Twitter and running an online health store. When you need to generate new blog posts about news in your health industry, researching via hashtags will give you access to all related topics.

Typing in #health, #nutrition, #medicine and other relevant hashtags allows you to create content that is informative, interesting and influential. Ecommerce is not just about selling your products and services. It’s also about knowing what the latest news and updates surrounding your industry are.

Just before we wrap this up, here are a few takeaway tips in using #hashtags:

  • Keep it short, significant and memorable – No one will take you seriously if you’re going to #hashtagsomethingthislong for no reason at all.

  • Have a good balance between “niche” and common – Your use of using original or common hashtags all depends on what you’re aiming at. Whether it’s a casual post or a contest-driven one.

  • Never overuse them in one go – It’s a complete eyesore if you’re going to have more hashtags than your actual statement. One or two will do, which is why you need to make them count.

  • Special characters and spaces don’t work – Most special characters and spaces don’t work but you can use an underscore (_).

Hashtags are one of the strongest and most reliable tools you can use for your ecommerce. They can help you sell in a more specific, targeted and niche-driven way so make sure to apply these steps the next time around.