If not…well, even Jimmy Fallon is in on the hashtag fun (so you probably should be, too):
While this video is a parody of the hashtag and how people use them, the hashtag is becoming more powerful than ever to categorize, search and even optimize your posts. I’ve spoken briefly about hashtags before, but here are three more reasons to use hashtags in Social.
Categorize and Measure
We’ve been working with OneCommunity, a non-profit public benefit broadband provider, for about the last year. Recently, they’ve partnered with The City Club of Cleveland on a series of talks focusing on how broadband can impact communities, health, education, and government.
At each of these talks, we Live Tweet the discussion through the @OneCommunity account using the hashtag #knowbroadband. We ask participants to follow along and Live Tweet through their smart phones as well. We let @OneCommunity followers know that if they are missing the talk, they can get great tidbits, all while following #knowbroadband.
Later, we go back through the posts and grab metrics, seeing how people responded to the talk and used the hashtag to communicate. I call it “Meetings 2.0″ and it’s a great way to add another dimension or layer to your talks or conferences. Feel free to pick a hashtag that suits your event, but keep in mind you will want to keep them relatively short and easy to remember, so people can quickly follow along and Re-Tweet posts without having to edit.
Search and Monitor
Central Ohio has had a huge infestation of stink bugs in the last year or so. These creepy-crawlies with the shield-like bodies are mostly harmless…unless you have two dogs who hunt them for sport. I took to Twitter to complain about my predicament, and used the hashtag #stinkbug.
A savvy business replied to me moments later to see if they could help. As a matter of fact, they manufactured and sold special traps for stinkbugs, and used the hashtag #stinkbug (as well as, I suspect, other related terms) to search and monitor traffic for potential customers.
For your business, monitoring and searching hashtags is a great way to find pre-qualified customers who could use your product or service. Beware, though, that your approach isn’t too “salesy” to start (which can feel like spam). It usually helps to send a general greeting reply to the Tweet first to open lines of communication, then see how you might help.
Last but certainly not least, Google+ recently rolled out new updates for hashtags. In fact, if you search a hashtag on Google (let’s go with puppies…hopefully not the kind that eat stinkbugs), you’ll see that the right hand sidebar now displays Google+ posts that have used the hashtag:
We’ve been encouraging clients to get on the Google+ bandwagon for a while, since it’s a poorly kept secret that Google+ and Google search play very, very nicely with one another. Even though we used the #puppies example above, a more likely approach for those searching hashtags through Google might be words like #rentals, #realestate, #fitness, #NEO, #insurance…the list goes on. If your business provides a product or service that can easily be categorized into a hashtag, using Google+ to post regularly could help you corner some (more) search traffic.
Remember, you don’t have to post anything wildly different on Google+ than you would to Facebook, just tailor the post with relevant keywords and hashtags to better leverage the search potential for your business.
Oh, and the bonus? Since Google doesn’t want to look too much like they’re cornering the #hashtag search market, they also include #hashtag search results from Facebook and Twitter farther down on the righthand sidebar.
So there you have it! Three more reasons to use the hashtag…even if Jimmy and Justin make fun of it just a little.
Have you used hashtags in one of these ways for your business? Tell us in the comments!