Hashtags aren’t just catchy phrases which capture trending events on social media. Well, basically that’s what they are but they could mean far more for someone who understands the value of social media marketing. Business analysts have come to recognise social media as one of the biggest factors in marketing at present and predict only a geometric progression in its relevance as the years go by. Now, some may wonder how this particularly concerns them as they may not have a real interest in business per say. Truth is that everybody has interests and those interests form hobbies. Through social media one now has the capacity to turn those hobbies into a career and indeed hashtags are key to that very goal.

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  • Have you ever heard of SEO? Or SMM? SEO is Search Engine Optimization and SMM is Social Media Marketing. Now, these are basic concepts in the world of building communities, visibility and gaining followership in social media and on the internet as a whole. SEO is a broad concept which houses all the processes or methods used to improve the visibility of a website or webpage in a search engine’s unpaid results. This involves all kinds of search stretching across visual, audio, documents etc. SMM on the other hand is the process of gaining traffic or attention through social media sites or as some business experts term it, ‘to get leads’. You’ll be wondering, what has a hashtag got to do with all this? Hashtags- with that little punctuation mark- are the fusion of SEO and SMM into one single phrase within the context of social media; my special theory of hashtags. Social media sites like Twitter are designed in such a way that communities can be built around single events, trends or news. Communities are built around what is ‘buzzing’. So to set the ball rolling for such communities, one has to follow the trends and come up with suitable hashtags. Also, to join already existing communities one has to find suitable hashtags pertaining to his discourse (whether a tweet or post) and then the rest is left to the content.
The 2014 incident of the Chibok girls in Nigeria.
Social media sites like Twitter are designed in such a way that communities can be built around single events, trends or news.

As earlier stated, this is something that concerns everyone because social media opens the door to ‘make some bread off your hobby’. Ever heard of John White? Columnist for Inc. magazine, CMO of Social Marketing Solutions and Director of Social media at beBee who started out posting random stuff on Twitter. Now with a huge profile like this he has over 40,000 followers on LinkedIn. He’s blogs have topped the charts on LinkedIn Pulse three times with over 1.6 million views. He went from tweeting to blogging and now, he’s is indeed one of those major success stories. This highlights the importance of hashtags in gaining relevance in social media communities. Just as SEO maximizes visibility and readability of web pages in search engines, hashtag intelligence does the same in improving followership and relevance in the social media sphere.

Career paths that benefit especially from Hashtag intelligence:

Marketing: With the ‘boom’ of online shopping platforms in the past few years, it has become more obvious that marketing is any one’s thing. Several platforms create environments where anyone is the buyer and the seller. With hashtag intelligence combined with other aspects of social media marketing, one can become a ‘don’ within the comfort of his or her bedroom. Using the right hashtags and following the right trends will help get leads and form a bigger customer base. This can be done without a human helping hand. Hashtags will help you reach out to potential customers in already existing communities or create communities that will attract them. But remember we said, ‘hashtag intelligence combined with other aspects of social media marketing’. These other aspects will of course include having a domain or user in the social media site of your choice. A lot of people use Instagram for example to market products and do advertising especially where there is a lot of visual content, perhaps images and videos. You have to choose the right social media site that will aid your own kind of content and build a basis for your ‘marketing stunt’. Twitter however is preferable for penetrating into communities that are centred on concepts that are peculiar to your product or service.

Start-ups: Start-ups are emerging by the second. The thing about start-ups however is that it’s not just about the services rendered. Advertising and gaining publicity is as important as the entity of the start-up itself. One of the easiest ways of ‘raising eyebrows’ and creating the needed awareness for your start-up is by simply applying the use of hashtags in capturing the attention of social media users. Now, every start-up is a business venture based on tech. One could for example, search the hashtag #tech and get all the current and relevant feeds pertaining to start-ups and tech in general. Using the hashtag in a post along with the proper content will push you into the tech community and get you likes, comments and essentially, followership. This would be a major plus in growing your start-up. As easy as cake you might say, however it is always important to support your content on sites like Twitter with links to articles and websites which would give better insight into your start-up.

Writing: Our little fairy tale of John White is on the previous page and you might just be the next big thing when it comes to writing. Writing is one aspect that really needs a mastery of the hashtag game and indeed, condensed content. In the world of social media there is no better way to write than to go with the flow. You have to stay ahead of the crowd and be part of what’s trending. There are two sides to it any way; you can either follow the trend or create the trend. You move from the former to the latter as you grow in hashtag intelligence and relevance. Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Inc., and beBee are some of the platforms where hashtags can aid your quest for relevance and growth. However, these should be used mainly to advertise your blog or any other writing platform you may use. The proper hashtags should get you into the communities focused on the topics you give correspondence on.

For every small scale entrepreneur or freelancer who wants to have a base in social media, I cannot stress how important hashtags are for you. Just as it is at the top of the page, they are your biggest advertising and marketing tool. Now you see that it’s much more than just a catchy phrase.

follow on twitter: @chuka_emery

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