In their now classic video, Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake charmingly captured the absurdity of our addiction to hashtags. Are we reduced to conversing in lists? Are our interpersonal skills measured by our ability to abbreviate? Are we that busy?
Attractive men who are hilarious aside, hashtags are at the center of their own uprising – they have single-hashedly revolutionized how we communicate.
The hashtag began as a Twitter user’s innovation to distinguish tweet topics. It then evolved into a hyperlink for search results, and is now a dominant element in our collective conversation. Despite a relatively short history, the hashtag has also compelled Twitter’s sister platforms to fall in line: from Instagram all the way through to Facebook’s inevitable concession.
Today, used in association with a concerted marketing strategy, information can rip like wildfire when lit with the right hashtag.
Of their power, renowned writer Jonathan Crossfield says, “This once rarely used character on the keyboard is rapidly becoming one of the mightiest punctuation marks in history.”
Now that hashtags provide a bridge to connect conversations between Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest – this seemingly innocuous character has developed seriously broad shoulders.
How to Find Significant Hashtags
Reigning social media mogul Gary Vaynerchuk opines that the best time to find prospects is when they are already expressing issues that align with your brand. He calls it riding the hashtag. So, take into consideration that you don’t necessarily need to be a trend setter. Just join the conversation.
Since social media, as he suggests, is a listening platform and not a speaking one, then perhaps that big “broadcast arena” you’re attempting to construct will remain woefully vacant; simply because everyone is exchanging thoughts and ideas at the already established one across the street. #emptystadium.
Do Your Research
What you can do is make lists of questions commonly asked by clients about your product or service. When you drill down to the most frequent ones it is likely that there exist conversations already in progress. Find them, monitor them, and join them. Make contributions and you’ll eventually be heard.
Don’t Discount Instagram
A very potent platform – even for companies that don’t have shining products to showcase – a killer hashtag strategy wins this game. Capable of embracing up to 30 hashtags in the comment section of an Instagram post, you can connect like crazy with clients, followers, and industry influencers.
So what’s the Limelight at the end of the tunnel? Don’t spend your precious time interrupting. Join the conversation already in progress.