Hashing Out An Effective Social Media Grouping Strategy

March 24, 2015In Marketing3 Minutes

What originated as a simple system of online labeling has become a part of our offline social vernacular. The hashtag (or more specifically, the number sign, #) is now regularly used in casual conversation to reference an emphasis on a specific subject and has become a pop culture icon in its own right.

Originally used in 2007 on Twitter to make sense of the 140-character chaos, the idea to apply this classification method originated from IRC (Internet Relay Chats) dating back to the late 80s. From a social media perspective, the hashtag’s widespread use took some time to gain traction. It was further developed and implemented by Twitter in 2009 when the growing company identified its users’ increased usage of the tagging system.

The use of hashtags has extended beyond Twitter and has spread successfully to most major social networks with the exception of LinkedIn. Therefore, implementing a grouping strategy via hashtags from a content marketing perspective across all platforms displaying an active grouping audience is highly recommended.

Different platforms require a varied approach to achieve optimal engagement. For instance, fewer and more targeted tags should be used on Twitter due to the 140-character allowance; while on Instagram, higher concentrations are seen using a more varied and vast tagging system as there is no character limit and users are highly in tune with the search structure as they post their material that may relate.

An actual follower conversion is more challenging to come by and comes with multiple engagements. It’s more likely that a user will ‘favorite’ a tweet or insta photo, choosing to ‘follow’ after building more of a relationship. Additionally, it’s notable to mention that hashtags on Facebook are relatively low in use and gaining momentum at a markedly slower pace than other platforms.

The application of hashtags can be incredibly beneficial to a marketing strategy, boosting existing efforts, greatly expanding an audience, and, ultimately, harnessing a  larger market share. Some ideal applications and benefits include:

  • Brand Awareness
  • Special Events, Campaigns & Product Launches
  • Relationship Building
  • Trend Spotting

A word of caution when using the hashtag strategy: ensure the right audience is targeted by checking the hashtag to be implemented before it is posted. An abbreviation or series of numbers can have multiple meanings and confuse or even offend the user – even one letter or number can make a difference. Researching usage and activity will ensure that the right message is directed to the right people for maximum engagement opportunities.

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