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What is Hashtag Marketing? Hashtag Strategies to Engage Audiences

What is Hashtag Marketing? Hashtag Strategies to Engage Audiences
June 13, 2017

What is Hashtag Marketing? Hashtag Strategies to Engage Audiences

Jun 13, 2017
Sampath Vedantam
Sampath is a digital marketing professional.

#Hashtag Marketing is on the roll, with regards to social networking sites. Hashtag is the way of tagging brands, people and businesses in the online social communities. Hashtags work in a great way with social Media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram. There are many success stories of brands which used hashtags to improve their reach on social media platforms. #hashtags_are_searchables

What is Hashtag Marketing?

Earlier in 2007, Twitter introduced Hashtags to filter the content easily which had received a greater response from the users. Marketing the brands has become a directive tool through Hashtag Marketing. Hashtag advertisements established a strong foundation in social media marketing. Hashtags will become popular only when they give a relentless efforts on research for the appropriate hashtag and Hashtags are Keyword phrases or words which helps to relate everything about the that particular concept. For example, #Cricketlove is related to cricket where all the people who want to discuss about cricket can come under an umbrella who can discuss.The best part of supporting Hashtag marketing is, it markets everything on social sites for Free. Unlike other marketing, this is needs no investments and has the higher reach with highest relevancy. In the same way, we can use hashtags for anything that we want to tag. But while tagging with hashtags, we must see whether there is a page where the hashtag lands when we click on it. So appropriate keywords must be selected before naming the page. We can name the page with anything preceding the symbol #. Hashtagging looks this way: #something.

Build a #something PAGE

Create a page on the name of the #something and put relevant information in the page. Since people visiting the page will definitely follow the page, the information added in the page must be relevant and unbiased. Hashtags were not used by individuals in the earlier times. It was used only by businesses to promote their business. People started using them from the time when they enabled online interactions and discussions and they became more viral especially on Twitter.

Social Networking Sites Which Support Hashtagging

Hashtag marketing worked out well with Twitter because the readability is high since the tweets can be read by larger audience and those posts and tweets are non-personalised (Visible to everyone). Companies introduced Hashtags in the following Years on their sites. These are the examples of Hashtagging: 1. #marketing 2. #googlesearch 3. #webtraffic 4. #optimization 5. #content 6. #seo 7. #seoproblems

Evolution of Hashtags

  • In August 2007, Twitter first introduced Hashtags
  • In July 2009, Twitter officially embraced the hashtag linking to a list of all tweets for anything proceeded by #
  • In January 2011, Instagram adds hashtag support
  • In February 2011, Twitter played a role in the Civil unrest of the Arab Spring. #Bahrain becomes one of the most used hashtags of all time
  • In October 2011, Google+ began automatically linking all hashtags in posts
  • In January 2013, Half of Superbowl ads include a hashtag
  • In June 2013, Facebook began to support hashtags
  • In October 2013, The Advertising Standards Authority (UK) and the FTC (USA) state that adverts made via celebrities Twitter page should incorporate the hashtag “#ad


No other site has such an impact of Hashtagging on Twitter. Especially on Twitter, Hashtags builds connections wider and better than other networking sites. Hashtags does a lot in twitter. Twitter enables to filter and finds relevant information even of an unknown writer. Information available at Twitter is visible to the wider audience which is unlike Facebook and Instagram. Hashtag marketing wasn’t been the case since marketing was all on traditional path for centuries. Later marketing underwent a drastic change heading towards digital marketing. Example

  • #McDstories
  • #Cairo
  • #ThisIsWhyWePlay
  • #Businesstime
  • #InboundChat

Hashtags are meant for followers. Hashtags have popularity more on Twitter.


Facebook initiated Hashtags in 2013. It can only filter on the name of the existing pages and it is limited because the uploads in Facebook cannot be viewed only by the known ones in their account. Hence people finds lesser relevance on the posts in Facebook. Let’s take some examples:

  • #ThisIsWhyWePlay
  • #PradhanMantriBheemaYojana
  • #ComedyDay
  • #CavsVsDub Etc.


Instagram, another social networking site which supports Hashtags. Hashtags in Instagram also has higher reachability compared to Facebook. General hashtagging words in Instagram are:

  • #quotes
  • #quoteoftheday
  • #qotd
  • #lifequotes
  • #motivationalquotes
  • #inspirationalquotes
  • #Instaquote


Hashtagging was begun in Google+ in 2011, and it started linking the hashtags in the posts automatically. Google+ is such a professional site which enables to link the hashtags automatically in the posts which is an added advantage.

The Purpose of Hashtags

Hashtags can help make the connection in the consumer's mind between a social media concept and a brand and its campaigns such as an offer or regular content. In simple words, Hashtags simply highlight brands, products and businesses by tagging them with a Hash. When the Hashtagged word is attached with a hyperlink, that will be driven to the page in that particular site. Hashtag trends has

When Hashtags Go Wrong

Hashtags can be an effective marketing tool when used in a proper way. But research about the hashtags must be done, and remember that anyone can use the hashtag that you've made for your brand. There are two ways hashtags can backfire the brands. The first is when they try to use a hashtag to increase their reach but select one that ends up making them look bad, and the other is when a hashtag is hijacked by any angry customers.

Hashtag Strategies to Engage Audience

1. Use Only Limited Hashtags

A limited usage of hashtags will make the content look more fitting to the topic and when more number of hashtags are included, that content may be sometimes treated as spam. Hence hashtags must be limited.

2. Flexibility Depending on the Platform

Using of Hashtags accordingly is very much important depending on the site. Let’s consider an example. tweets that include hashtags has doubled up the engagement than those without hashtags. Yet, those that include more than one hashtags have shown a significant drop in engagement effectiveness. Contrarily, on Instagram, posts with many hashtags usually have a higher interaction than those with few. But, the use of hashtags on Facebook has not showed any evidence on their effectiveness.

3. Ask Questions with Specific Answers

To build a good hashtag, one must ask only those questions with fixed or specific answers. When you ask open ended questions, the answers you get becomes ambiguous and drive the topic/discussion to a different situation. One can expect all sorts of replies from those who sees the post. Before using a hashtag, you must ask yourself how different audience will react.

4. Situations and Hashtag Strategy

There are different types of Hashtags

  • Brand & Campaign Hashtags
  • Content Hashtag
  • Trending etc are different hashtags used in different situations

Brand & Campaign hashtags refers to tag company or a brand. These are used to market and promote a brand or a business. Content Hashtags generally include tagging something while developing the content. That can be anything that you can tag. It can be a product, a place/location or product etc. Trending Hashtags are the popular topics which everyone are talking in every corner. When you see a trend relating to your business, you should engage in it by using the tag. This potentially gets your message seen by a huge audience. Based on what you would like to communicate, you will gain huge reap the benefits of using hashtags inside your campaign. A catchy, positive, actionable and provoking hashtags are able to do ideal for any campaign. This analysis shows a number of hugely successful campaigns. It helps to definitely view the dos and don’ts of a successful hashtag strategy. It is also worth noting that no few winning hashtags included what they are called from the brands in it and none were over-promotional which is a best feature of Hashtagging. Hashtags are majorly used for Brand Tagging Brand Hashtags include the name of the brand preceding the Hashtag. Example: #Adidaslove #Nike #JustDoIt etc. Chat Tagging Chat Hashtags tag a text from the conversation to discuss with the users who are interested in the topic. Example: During the NBA championship leagues, #NBAtalks were very popular.The team with the largest fan base interacts with supporters using the hashtag, encouraging them to share opinions and content. Content Reflective Tagging Content reflecting hashtags are more limited in optimizing the content for search. Example : #EatFresh , #cleaneating etc. It is not as trending as the other hashtags. Call to Action Tagging These hashtags Encourage the online community to perform a specific action involving the brand.

How to Use Hashtags for Businesses Effectively

It is all simple to jot down how to use hashtags in social networking sites. First of all, search for the popular hashtags that are used by people to search something related to your brand. Do a thorough research on how to make catchy hashtags. Then create a hashtag for your brand. After creating the hashtag, start reaching the audience with that hashtags and participate in social conversations which will increase the visibility of your brand name in public. Hashtags need to be used according to the type of the site on which you are working on. For example, Twitter supports hashtags in one way and facebook supports it in other way. The more hashtags you add in instagram, the more popular your ad becomes.Hence each of the social networking site has its own characterization of hashtagging. Hashtagging helps to join in conversations, fetches information and gets leads for businesses. Hence, hashtags are emphasised more emphasised in social media marketing these days. Hashtags are entertained in LinkedIn as well. This is the reason why every business is looking for Hashtagging. With hashtags, it is easier to communicate with your audience and the networks within the same industry.

Tracking Tools

Tracking is very much important for every activity. Hashtags are nowhere an exception. Tracking can be done by certain tools that are available like


Search for its extensive list of hashtags that are popular or currently trending. You’ll be able to find out what and which hashtags are already in existence as well as the analytics on when a particular hashtag is being tweeted most within 24 hours. If you need to know more about how to use hashtags, you can read some of their articles, available on the site.

2. will show you all the relevant hashtags to a particular keyword, in a mind-map like manner. When you hover over a related hashtag, you can see how popular it is and how it relates to the main hashtag. You can even switch to “Advanced Mode” to find more associations or “Table Mode” if you prefer to view information in a more structured form.

3. Ritetag

Tweak the search settings is all what we need to do and Topsy will do the rest for you. It further compiles tweets with pictures, links and videos containing the hashtag you are searching for as well as the analytics you want. Topsy also identifies who are the influencers of a particular hashtag.

4. Topsy

Topsy’s API will let you know from when hashtags are in the usage. You need to do is tweak the search settings and Topsy will do the rest for you. It further compiles tweets with photos, links and videos containing the hashtag you’re searching for as well as the analytics you desire. Topsy also identifies who are the influencers of a specific hashtag.

5. Tweetreach

With TweetReach, you’ll be able to know if your hashtag is impactful during your campaign or event. It tells you if your hashtag is generating discussions, retweets, and most importantly, who saw your tweets. Simply enter the hashtag in the search.

6. Hashtracking

Hashtracking Will be able to track events and campaigns in real time. Some of the things it will keep track of are tweets, retweets, and who is contributing to the conversation on a specific hashtag. It will also provide charts and graphs as well as in-depth analysis which you can export and share.

7. Tweet Binder

TweetBinder allows to create “binders” for a particular hashtag or hashtags. A report will be generated to display the statistics of conversations, tweets, photos, links and contributors surrounding that hashtag. Extremely useful for keeping track of your various campaigns and events, the data gathered can be used for future marketing references. We can even browse things by binders too. Etc and many more tools. Hashtagging is not just about highlighting a word but it is the way to highlight brands, businesses. Hashtags can favour startups in a huge way. Because it is the best way to promote a brand online easily through tagging the brand with a hashtag. It’s also an important fact that, Each site has its own relevance and reachability and best part of it Hashtag Marketing is, it is all for free, free and free.

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