Hashtags fuel discovery

Telling an effective story with hashtagging

No matter how far communication tools advance, most often the relaying of information simply comes down to telling a story efficiently and effectively. A story needs to be impactful enough for the story to be cataloged for recall later and focused enough for the tribal lesson to come through clearly. There’s a process for doing just that in emerging media. It’s called hashtagging.

Engineers were using hashtags, long before it became a thing, to categorize and flag material. If you’re like me you may have even used the method in note taking to group related ideas together. Yet, somewhere along the way hashtags began to be used as sarcasm, emphasis, and abbreviated statements (humor, context, and interior monologues). One of my favorite skits with Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake portrays #hashtag overload well.

Now, let’s talk about the power of proper tagging and channel creation. When used properly hashtags can fuel discovery for both the intimate media consumer and the public consumer. I have two friends in particular who dominate when it comes to personalized hashtags (and no I won’t tell you who they are, but I will tell you what you need to know).

Hashtag generator from eWedding
Hashtag generator from eWedding

How to develop hashtags that propel your purpose:

  1. Be unique to avoid confusion. Do some research to see if you can dominate the tag.
  2. Be clear on what your intention for the tag is. Will it be ongoing or limited to a fixed occasion?
  3. Inform your audience what the tag is. Arm them with the tag before the occasion to build up anticipation and excitement while establishing community bonds.

One of the best parental usages I’ve seen is to create a unique hashtag to tag all the moments of your child’s life, even when only searchable to your personal network it allows family members to find, follow, and engage in the story. Unique identification is the most important aspect here. Longevity is second, make sure the tag will grow with your child (or brand). Same goes for those attending an event. Whether it’s a wedding or an international conference, specific event tagging is crucial for spinning up an engagement channel with live tweets and building relevant channel content over time as it allows both participants and observers to find, follow, and engage in the story as it unfolds. Because the channel remains open, the momentum created can carry through until long after an event has passed if your audience continues to find it relevant.


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  3. Michael Seabrook

    Great post! I’ve learned a lot through these past few weeks about creating a seamless channel for your content. Hashtags allows marketers to create a unique hashtag where their consumers can find them. Allows consumers to find content but also talk about specific product using this strategy.People search using hashtags on websites such as Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Instagram, and they can be an effective way for people to search for content which is specific to their original query. Hashtags can also be a powerful research tool and enable website developers interested in search engine optimization to see what is trending and making waves on social networking websites.

    Another benefit of using hashtags is the ability to use analytics on collecting data. There are several websites which allow you to track the performance of your hashtags, allowing you to conduct research on what was popular and which keywords or phrases led to inbound traffic to your website and increased the number of sales for a product or service. When using a hashtag at the end of a post on a social networking website, consider incorporating an external web link into the body of text to your blog or website, enabling people to find out more information about your company or brand if they click on the link.



    1. Michael,
      Custom hashtags are very important in branding campaigns and monitoring the conversation flow across channels. I would clarify that the usage of hashtags that we are talking about are very different than what web devs focus on for optimization. Website optimization is crucial for user experience and to avoid negative social signals but in my experiences should be treated as a complementary trade to search optimization. There can be overlap between web devs, content creators, and SEO specialists, but not all SEO specialists are web developers, and not all web devs are SEO specialists.
      Zignal Labs Command Center

      Vendors of active listening tools like Zignal Labs have enterprise and command center options that monitor real-time usage of words, tags, and unique user idents on public platforms Enterprise Dashboard Zignal Labs

      This prevents missing trends by narrowing the focus to a cluster of keywords or hashtags.

      As for campaign monitoring and active listening via hashtag there are tools like Talkwalker, Hashtagify, Tagboard, Trendsmap, RiteTag, Keyhole and Mention, amongst others.

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