With new online platforms emerging into the digital media spectrum, marketing requires more digital focus. Very popular forms of modern business to consumer marketing revolves around the use of social media, which can include anything from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or, most recently, Vine.

A large chunk of marketing efforts are usually directed now to social media campaigns, but as many professionals have experienced, social media marketing requires more than just a set schedule or posts. It requires engagement, strategy and reliable metrics.

A simple tactic that encourages all three of these requirements is the ever-popular hashtag. Why are more businesses implementing the use of hashtags into their business marketing strategy?

As a metric tool

Hashtags are primarily used because they help string together bits and pieces of information and links through their specific phrasing. Hashtags are created by first researching current hashtag uses. For example, if Coca Cola wanted to execute a social media campaign and wanted to use a hashtag to track their information, they would use a specific phrase following a hashtag symbol (i.e. #cocacolafantastic).

By creating a hashtag and promoting your posts and clipping hashtags on them, others will follow your lead and use these hashtags, which will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your social media campaign as measured through reach and mentions.

As an engagement tool

Not only do hashtags make practical social media evaluation tools, but according to a survey conducted by RadiumOne, out of 494 participants, more than 58 percent, were much more likely to use hashtags when posting or sharing information on social media. Overall, 70 percent of respondents (consumers) favor hashtags, especially on mobile devices and social media.

What does this tell us? Simply put, people like hashtags, and they help with engagement.

Most companies also use hashtags to engage their audiences through multi-media social media platforms (i.e. Instagram and Vine). In fact, many of the larger companies offer incentives to consumers that use their hashtags (mostly seen in contests) in order to expand their reach. Internet marketing experts find that not only do hashtags increase interaction, they also build on brand loyalty, which in turn helps the brand form a long-lasting relationship with the customer. According to one representative at 29 Prime, effective marketing will “greatly increase your online visibility in front of local customers.”

Adding value to marketing strategy

Sure, hashtags offer a simple method of good metrics and engaging audiences, but they also prove to be invaluable when promoting the company name and products. Thanks to the synchronization of hashtags throughout most social media platforms, hashtagging is an invaluable tool of great marketing strategies.

Nevertheless, hashtags need to be used strategically in order to prevent over-saturation of the product or company. Use them sparingly, otherwise your posts will look like spam and not actual, well thought out posts. Try not to scatter hashtags throughout the posts, always leave them for the end. Also, try not to use more than two hashtags per post.

Hashtags are definitely a new frontier within your social media or marketing strategy. Not only are hashtags valuable because of their synchronization across multiple social media platforms but they also prove to be ideal for campaign evaluation (reaping qualitative data), engaging your audience and promoting your brand and your products or services through strategic placement.

So research relevant tags and find or create the right one for your campaign, product or brand. In the end, doing so will help you organize your information by search terms, tap into new markets, find new resources and help you build an audience and community around your brand.

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