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How Your Business Can Benefit from Using Hashtags

How Your Business Can Benefit from Using Hashtags

The hashtag has become one of the most effective ways companies and consumers can find each other on social media. If you’re not already on Twitter and using hashtags, here is a short overview of why you should take the hashtag plunge. (Yes, we say this despite Twitter’s recent rumblings about possibly discontinuing the hashtag – someday.)

The hashtag is a great tool to find out what your customers and stakeholders care about. Most commonly associated with Twitter but also used on many other social sites, the hashtag (pound) symbol is like having an online crawler that shows you only the news you want to see in real-time, as the stories evolve.

If you want to experiment with your own hashtag, start by signing up for a Twitter account (if you don’t already have one). Then assign a hashtag to an upcoming event. But do your research first. Keep your hashtag short, relevant and easy to remember, and make sure it isn’t already being used. You can find this out by doing a Twitter search.

Begin using your hashtag in your tweets about your event. And include it in your other promotions to encourage people to use it in their social conversations. It takes time to accrue Twitter followers, so don’t get discouraged if your hashtag doesn’t take off right away. There’s a whole ‘science’ to leveraging Twitter to grow followers and wield influence.

Here are five reasons you should be using hashtags:

1.       Track relevant conversations

You can use a listening tool to follow one or more hashtags in your industry to get a sense of what people are interested in and curious about. This can help you find a place to ease into the conversation, identify the most influential participants, or understand sentiment and pain points of participants.

2.       Find out how far discussions have traveled

While you might be focusing your marketing efforts on a particular geographic location or demographic segment, you might be surprised at who actually uses your hashtag and participates in conversations pertaining to it. By using listening tools you can see how far geographically your hashtag has traveled and identify the demographics of the participants.

3.       See how long your message stays active

Reach and frequency of message are important, but so is longevity, especially on the social web. By monitoring hashtags, you can see how long people participate in conversations in your vertical market, and whether that means simply retweeting your original message or developing conversations that last over a period of time.

4.       Catch negative sentiment and contact those people directly

There will always be times when you need to deliver information that will be divisive. By using and tracking your hashtag, you’ll be able to see negative reaction, questions, or debate over your message, and be able to engage participants in conversation with the goal of changing their opinion, or at least lessening the negative impact. This can be a very useful tool.

5.       Amplify positive sentiment by retweeting and engaging positive contributors

The other side of the conversational coin is that you can amplify positive conversations surrounding your message, and engage proponents in conversation. By retweeting positive comments, you can help these messages travel faster and encourage fans to similarly contribute.

Hashtags are one of today’s best, free shortcuts for navigating the social web. The sooner you put them to work for your own organization, the sooner you’ll begin to broaden your horizons and sphere of influence.

Here’s an easy way to tie a hashtag to your news distribution. Marketwired Resonate, an all-in-one news release platform, lets you easily assign a hashtag to a news release so you can track not only the performance of the release itself, but also the buzz surrounding the general topic to see what related themes people are discussing. It’s a great way to identify influencers interested in your news. Contact us to find out more.

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