10 years of hashtags: 3 lessons for PR and marketing pros

The social media tool was first used on Twitter a decade ago. As brand managers jump on the bandwagon to laud the online marker, here’s what you should remember for future campaigns.

The hashtag is celebrating its 10th birthday.

Many consumers, brand managers and influencers are tweeting their congratulations and thoughts about the tool, which are now accompanied by a special emoji for #Hashtag10.

Twitter also shared the news with a few tweets:

Once used exclusively as a way to organize conversations on Twitter, hashtags have grown in popularity and use. Today, many journalists, industry leaders, PR pros, marketers, influencers and consumers use hashtags to uncover breaking news and trends, find like-minded people to talk with and boost their brand(s).

Here are three insights to remember on the hashtag’s anniversary:

1. Promos are OK, but don’t forget to build your community.

Many PR and marketing pros are taking to Twitter to tout their organizations under #Hashtag10. Here are two examples from the Denver Broncos and the Sydney Swans:

Though this is the easiest way to take part in a popular hashtag or social media trend, the tweets from the Broncos and Swans are resonating with Twitter users because the teams have built passionate fan bases.

Don’t rely on keywords and newsjacking instead of fostering a community in which your audience members can learn things and interact with your organization.

2. Add value.

Other brand managers, including those from MacMillan Cancer, Heart London, Manila Bulletin, “Good Morning America” and RoosterPR shared facts and tidbits about popular hashtags:

These tweets can serve as a lesson to offer value to your social media followers. They’re paying you with their time and attention, so don’t force them to sit through another sales pitch.

Instead, offer a new angle on a trending news item, facts about a popular topic or a story they’ll want to read.

3. Join the conversation.

PR and marketing pros should take Twitter’s tagline to heart when looking to attract eyeballs and increase engagement online.

Many brand managers, including ABC News, are jumping on the trend by sharing their hashtag celebrations:

Others, such as Agency Central, are asking their fans to share their favorite hashtag moments, trends and memories:

Though asking questions can increase interaction, take care to not make it seem like you’re only after retweets and boosted analytics. Instead, tweet back to those who respond to your inquiries.

Above all, don’t overdo it.

The “Hashtag” skit by Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake has amassed more than 32 million views, but the pair show how going overboard on hashtags can quickly become annoying, instead of enticing:

(Image via)


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