As most of you know, Twitter is littered with hashtags, everything from television shows to people using them to express themselves. So you’re probably thinking. “Should I use them?” The simple answer is yes, but why you should be using them is a different story.
First off a little history, in the beginning of Twitter, the hashtag was meant as a way of organizing and grouping your tweets. It was just an easy way for people to find people with similar interests. For example if people were tweeting about something happening in the education world, they would most likely tweet, #education, to group that tweet and for people searching twitter for posts about education to be able to find it more easily.
While hashtags still serve that purpose, they have evolved into a way for brands and people to have conversations. Take, for example, television shows, have you noticed when watching your favorite show, they will usually have a hashtag in the corner of the screen the whole time so that people can live tweet the shows? It’s become a necessity in our fast paced world of social media. For example, recently The X Factor broke the record for most social media comments, and the way that people were able to track this, well part of it was the hashtag.
So why should your brand have a hashtag? Like I have done in my previous blogs, I’ll lead by example. When my organization held its annual professional development conference, we created a hashtag, which was on every page of our program book and on every slide deck used by our presenters. Why? Because we wanted people to talk about the conference, we wanted our network to connect with each other and begin to share what they had learned (We also wanted to track what they were saying about the conference as well and see which areas we could improve upon in the future.) Our hashtag was pretty simple it was just the name of the event #NAFNext. During our conference we also had the pleasure of having the US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speak, during his speech, people were tweeting pictures and comments using our conference hashtag, and later, Arne Duncan even tweeted to us using the hashtag.
After our conference, I worked with my company’s research team to track the sentiment of people talking about the conference using our hashtag. This hashtag allowed us deliver measurable results, and also allowed us to begin and in some cases carry on the conversation with people in our network. So be sure that the next time you have an event or webinar, always create a hashtag so that you can track and engage. It’s something simple that can make a big difference.