Why Your Brand Should Be Using Hashtags

Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem and a big idea turn into an innovation.

Dean Kamen

For our industrial brands – and Brieffin, as well – we utilize a variety of social media channels. The type of message we focus on for each channel is different. Some social channels, like Twitter, are where we focus on a high volume of information. Others, like Instagram, are great for sharing visual content, like photos and videos.

But no matter the platform – whether it’s one of these, or even LinkedIn, lately – you’re likely to see one thing in common: the presence of hashtags.

The hashtag got its start on Twitter, back in 2007. A social technology expert named Chris Messina is credited for inventing it when he posted this Tweet:

When Messina shared his idea with Twitter founder Evan Williams, Williams didn’t really care for the idea. He doubted it would be very popular.

But the uses and popularity of hashtags grew. 12 years later, there are 125 million hashtags used every single day.

So why should brands use hashtags? Though some may see them merely as a gimmick, we believe hashtags provide value when used with good judgment. Here are 5 reasons why brands should be using hashtags.

1. To create community

Just as Messina intended in his Tweet containing the original suggestion, hashtags are very efficient when used for a group. In fact, for many of my college courses, we would have a class hashtag listed on our syllabus along with the professor’s office hours and the course textbook name. When my classmates and I would use that hashtag – such as “COMM441” – it was a way for us to share interesting thoughts or information related to the class, with each other. It gave us a group identity in a social space.

2. To help your target audience find you

Hashtags have evolved beyond a way to identify groups. Now, they serve another very important purpose: they are basically their own version of a search engine. Since hashtags are links, clicking on a hashtag on any social channel will bring the user to a new page showing all the recent posts with the same hashtag. Or, they can simply type the hashtag into any search field – even Google! When your brand is using the right hashtags, it makes it easy for the people who are interested in that hashtag to find you. You don’t even have to go looking for them!

3. To build excitement

Maybe your brand wants to announce a new promotion, product, contest, or campaign. The perfect hashtag can go a long way to generate buzz as you share the news with your audience. That hashtag can ensure consistency with your messaging. Even more than that, you can encourage your audience to use the same hashtag – to share their feedback or even enter the contest. Not only are you building excitement, but also fostering the sense of community (just like in #1.)

4. To improve engagement rates

Everyone is looking for the magic formula that improves engagement. It turns out, hashtags might be part of that formula. According to a study by Linchpin SEO, Tweets with hashtags receive twice as much engagement as Tweets without hashtags. While there are varying opinions and statistics on the exact number of hashtags that works best, it can depend on industry and audience. Brands should experiment to find that perfect number.

5. To build connections within your industry

Most of us know the power of networking, and surprisingly, hashtags can even be good for that! Using the same hashtag as others in your industry can lead to connections made – especially in niche industries. Also, it’s quite common for industry events or conferences to have an “official” event hashtag. (Like #METEC2019, which we recently attended.) Make sure to include it while sharing content from the event, and there’s a good chance you’ll be able to meet and connect with others in attendance, even if just virtually.

Looking for more advice about navigating the ever-evolving world of social media? Get in contact with us, and we’ll be happy to connect and point you in the right direction.

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