Ever wondered about tweets containing words with the "#" symbol in front of them? This hashtag symbol causes Twitter to organically categorize the tweet, along with any other tweet containing the exact same hashtag. In some ways, use of the hashtag is similar to adding a tag to a blog post.
When someone searches for a word you have used as a tag, they may be directed to your blog post. The same is true when someone searches for a word you have placed a hashtag in front of. In this case, they will be directed to a list of all the tweets using that same hashtag. This is the power of the hashtag.
By adding a hashtag in front of a pertinent word in your tweet you become a part of the conversation and your tweet may be found by someone searching for that word. I've also found the use of the hashtag to narrow your audience to only those people who are actually interested in what it is you are tweeting about. Seems this would also lead to your tweet having a greater likelihood of being re-tweeted when it is being read by an audience that is truly interested in the topic you are tweeting about. Food for thought when planning a targeted marketing effort.
There are many stories of companies using the hashtag for marketing purposes. Dominos Pizza reduced the price of a pizza each time someone tweeted "#letsdolunch" for a specified period of time. The result was 85,000 tweets and a large number of happy customers who enjoyed their pizza at a discounted price. Even the Obama administration has been known to use the hashtag in tweets, like during the payroll tax debate when they asked people to tweet about what "#40dollars" meant to them. Many other examples exist, including McDonald's disastrous use of the hashtag in a tweet several months ago.
It's easy to start a hashtag campaign, but let me give you some things to think about before your do. What is the ultimate goal of your hashtag campaign? Do you intend to provide something of value to your followers? Do you intend to profit from your campaign? Do you want to provide your followers with valuable information? Are you trying to obtain name recognition? Do you want to start a conversation? Have you checked to make sure your hashtag has not already been used?
A well thought out hashtag campaign can have tremendous results. Have you tried your own hashtag campaign? What do you think about some of the hashtag campaigns you've seen?
Image from firepolemarketing.com