#hashtags: the social data glue


From Wikipedia:

Hashtags are words or phrases prefixed with the symbol #, a form of metadata tag. Also, short messages on microbloggingsocial networking services such as Twitter, identi.ca orGoogle+ may be tagged by including one or more with multiple words concatenated, e.g.: #Wikipedia is an #encyclopedia

From “Michael-Myers-pedia”:

Hashtags are words or phrases prefixed with the # symbol , that allow people to discover content, product and/or services. This form of metadata is essential to any social media campaign and will continue to expand across the digital ecosystem.

Hashtags are something we’ve become accustomed to seeing. A few of the places they are appear are:

  • on TV as a “bug” on the screen that drives people on twitter to discuss what’s on
  • on Twitter to help organize content like #tourdefrance
  • on Instagram and allows users to specify what type of image they’ve uploaded
  • on Tumblr and allows members to tag their content. (Tumblr adds the hashtag automatically.)
  • on Pinterest. Yes. They support them and they need to be in your description text.

As the web and apps begin to converge, look for hashtags to gain prominence as content/behavior can be categorized and offers pushed to users no matter which tool they are using. With respect the day to day marketing value hashtags provide, let me share my experience and the importance of discoverability.

I’ve been on Instagram for 51 weeks and don’t have many followers. 96 to be exact. I’ve always told businesses I work with and my students to use the hashtag; no matter what tool they’re using. I of course don’t always practice what I preach, regularly forgetting to include the hashtag in my posts. This morning I was reviewing my images via Statigr.am and thinking about which ones to potentially print out. As I looked them over I decided to add some hashtags using the commenting feature and within seconds, I had numerous people Liking my images. People who weren’t following me. The whole year before I’ve had maybe 20 likes and from adding tags I had 35 likes in one day! (It appears that when Instagram recently pushed the discover feature – with ‘search people or tags’ – to the front of the app, that tags became even more important.)

Moral to the story is #hashtags are important! Use them for #digitalmarketing – #social and #mobile – when appropriate!

By Michael Myers