It’s official – hashtag mania is upon us. If you don’t believe us, ask Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake who put on a pretty hilarious ‘Late Night’ skit about how everyone is obsessed with using #hashtags. (Yeah, we just hashtagged a hashtag). While the notorious twosome may have mocked how people are going a little overboard with tagging stuff, the truth is that hashtags are pretty darn awesome when you think about it. You can get a lot of stuff done with the use of hashtags.
The reason that people share a hashtag is to make themselves visible online and to join a larger user interaction or discussion. If one learns to play their cards right, hashtags can be used to an advantage. Let us assume you have just opened up a Star Wars-themed restaurant called the ‘Jedi Diner’ (we still don’t know why no one has done that yet!) As a newly-opened restaurant, your primary aim is to attract patrons. Maybe you come with an online lucky draw to engage and draw in customers. You could come up with your own hashtag like ‘#jedi4ever’ and ask participants to share it on their social media pages to be eligible to win. That’s as simple as it is. Now all you need to do is look up ‘#jedi4ever’ and you can view a complete list of everyone that has participated in your contest and choose a lucky winner to dine for free and win Star Wars merchandise (here’s hoping!)
There’s a lot of jabber that goes on when users interact on social media platforms. With hashtags, you can add a tag of sorts and ‘own’ conversations that are already taking place. This is much like the Star Wars diner contest idea above, but minus the contest aspect. If you can engage your target audience and convince them to share their conversation with your hashtag plugged in, you’re all set!
Hashtags can tell who you are, where you live, what you do, what you’re looking for, where you want to visit and more. Ok, so it’s not meant to be as creepy as it sounds. Hashtags aren’t really stalking you but can give businesses a chance to connect with you on a more personal level. For instance, if you’re travelling to London, and you want to find a place that serves good fish n’ chips, you’ll probably look up #london. This will throw up all the fish n’ chip hotspots in the city. Similarly, if your Star Wars-themed restaurant is in Kansas you can use #kansas in your posts to attract tourists and patrons from your own city!
There’s so much one can do with hashtags. Everyday hashtags grow up a little more and there’s much to explore. There has also been talk about how American Express plans to use hashtag innovations to allow customers to make purchases using a hashtag.