A recent article, Hashtag targeting comes of age, offers a few insights into behaviors of consumers utilizing and reacting to social hashtags. With Facebook planning to jump on the bandwagon, this is a great time to refresh our minds on the topic. The piece quotes a recent study by RadiumOne, which reports the following:
- 58% of respondents use hashtags on a regular basis
- Over half said they would share brand hashtags more often if they knew an incentive / reward was attached
- 43% find hashtags “useful”
I’m a bit torn on the current use of hashtags by both marketers and consumers. As it stands right now, I’m witnessing abhorrent overuse of them, particularly on Instagram (see the unfortunate example in the image above). I’m also seeing improper use of words and phrases with seemingly no strategy in place. Take the example below, in which Entenmann’s randomly used “#notguilty”, when it was simultaneously being attached to tweets about the Casey Anthony trial. Ended up being a PR issue that could have been easily avoided with some basic education.
On the flip side, when used properly, hashtags can be of great value to brands for engagement, community building, and research. For the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show, Jimmy introduces a new hashtag each week and then chooses several tweets from the stream to read during the program. Specific, deliberate, easily measurable, and clear, this is a great example of mindful hashtag use.