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).
How to develop hashtags that propel your purpose:
- Be unique to avoid confusion. Do some research to see if you can dominate the tag.
- Be clear on what your intention for the tag is. Will it be ongoing or limited to a fixed occasion?
- 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.