The Emergence of the Hashtag… #

As the world is gripped in the digital age and social media seems to govern not only our personal lives but also the presence of businesses and brands. A trend that has been noticed in the design, branding and identity industry is the emergence of social hashtags as legitimate pieces of “brand furniture”.

  
Hashtags are topics of conversation that people use to engage with over social media channels. It seems that the larger brands are starting to wake up to the way people use, react and engage with hashtags and are developing strategies to harness the power of a strong topic.
Merely being active on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram is seemingly not enough – creating, developing and “owning” a hashtag creates a small part of the internet that becomes a funnel for interested parties to slip into and engage with a brand, business or movement.
Developing a hashtag is now becoming as important as developing a logo. An identity for any modern business – small or large – that has aspirations to engage an audience over digital channels needs to seriously consider how they could utilise this feature over social media.
Simply “coming up” with a catchy phrase is nowhere near enough though. Special care and attention should be paid to what the hashtag stands for, what it sets out to achieve, what it asks of its audience and what is in for them. What mechanisms and strategies can be put in place to assist the hashtag in achieving it’s purpose?

  
 

Some larger brands put a lot of time, money and effort into developing hashtags that support and enhance their own brands in very broad ways. In isolation, very few of the examples above make in grammatical sense but when the words are placed in the context of a hashtag within a tweet or post, they can take on a variety of meanings. People could engage on many levels dependant on the context in which the tag is used.

  

Choosing your hashtag is a complicated task to embark on. Finding the hook that links your business to the topic your hashtag depicts is a mammoth challenge. What angle could you use? A competition to attract attention by shares or retweets in exchange for a chance to win a prize, or an educational industry tool – become  an authority on what you do to build trust. You could develop a tag  based around an event to promote it and attract visitors. Use the graphic above as a starting point as you begin to develop your strategy.

  
The only way to get your hashtag trending is to keep using it. Force it in front of your target audience in tweets and posts – use it with relevant topical messages and ask for retweets or shares. A hashtag is only as good as the strategy built for it or the mechanism you’ve spent time developing is wasted. 
As with websites – content is king. So tread carefully when creating your tag and be sure to give it longevity with ongoing potential. It needs to be adaptable and must be able to move with the times, trends and fashions. 
How can your identity and brand be enhanced by a hashtag? What can you give to gain from a social strategy that includes a topical funnel for users to engage with?
We have skill and experience in developing brands – why not engage with us to talk more about your #TopicalBrandFunnel ???

Author:
Gareth

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