When I think of hashtags, I think of Twitter and those crazy memes that pop up in the trending sidebar everyday. But hashtags aren’t just a source of amusement. More and more, they’re becoming a form of company branding.
Last night, ABC prompted Dancing with the Stars viewers to vote for the prom king and queen by Tweeting #PromQueen or #PromKing followed by the name of your favorite star. They also use their normal #DWTS hashtag to encourage users to comment throughout the show and some of those Tweets show up on screen during the live broadcast.
Two weeks in, and I’m already accustomed to using their hashtag when I Tweet about the show.
A new study from RadiumOne tells us that hashtags are becoming more common for all kinds of online sharing, not just Twitter. It’s especially popular with mobile users because it allows us to easily convey a concept in a single word.
- 58 percent of respondents utilize hashtags on a regular basis, and 71 percent of regular hashtag users do so from their mobile devices
- 43 percent of respondents think hashtags are useful and 34% use them to search/follow categories and brands of personal interest
- 51 percent of respondents would share hashtags more often if they knew advertisers awarded discounts for sharing product based hashtags
- 41 percent of respondents use hashtags to communicate personal ideas and feelings
For marketers, there’s one fact that trumps all. Check this out:
People are clicking on hashtags! That’s a behavior that’s new to me but it’s happening more and more. I think it’s because people are learning to use hashtags in a responsible manner. What I mean is, a year ago, clicking a hashtag wouldn’t necessarily lead me to similar information but now it does. Sure, there are always a few, random messages in the bunch, but in general, if I click on #shopping, I’m going to find people talking about shopping. The trick for brands, is training consumers to use the right tag.
For example, Dancing with the Stars saves space by using #DWTS. Any fan who sees that shorthand, immediately knows what it means.
#Ritz sometimes takes me to the buttery cracker, but it also takes me to the hotel and to “ritzy” photos.
How do you train consumers to use your hashtag? Well, that’s the big question isn’t it. You could try rewarding them for their efforts.
Remember what Frank taught you yesterday, adding a hashtag to a Tweet doubles the engagement. But that’s not exponentially true so don’t go crazy. What you should do is starting testing them in other forms of communication such as Facebook updates, email messages, Pinterest pins etc.
Now let’s have a little fun. If you were a hashtag, what would your # be?