Posted in: Opinion

The Power of Hashtags and User-Generated Content

30th September 2016

The Power of Hashtags and User-Generated Content

The Power of Hashtags and User-Generated Content

The Power of Hashtags and User-Generated Content

Written by The Power of Hashtags and User-Generated Content,

The use of hashtags has been around since the relative early days of Twitter, and it’s now crept into our lives that much it’s almost part and parcel of everyday life.

Hashtags aren’t just a good way of finding out what’s trending and to keep up to date with the latest news, but they’re also a key marketing component for businesses of all sizes. One of the biggest benefits for businesses is it provides a great opportunity to collect user-generated content and find out what people are saying about you.

Throughout the years there’s been many examples of both creative and imaginative marketing campaigns using hashtags, from Coca Cola’s #ShareaCoke to Sport England’s #ThisGirlCan.

But you don’t need to be an international multi-billion pound business to make them work. Small and medium size businesses from all industries can achieve great engagement and interaction with the simplest of hashtags.

An example of hashtags and user-generated content, Sport England's #ThisGirlCan campaign.

Whether it be photos, videos or tweets, this user-generated content can be seen in one place and then  used on sites and landing pages.

A common method is creating a gallery on your site, allowing for customers to see themselves and others. Let’s face it, we all love been retweeted or showcased by our favourite brands and businesses! This is proven to increase the likelihood of these customers engaging with you online in the future, telling their friends, spreading the word and buying your products. Basically doing the work for you!

A real life example we recently used was #HighTideBall. This was a hashtag for an event for one of our clients, the High Tide Foundation. Those attending were encouraged to use the hashtag when tweeting or posting photos to Instagram. In this case, as well as giving a snapshot of personal moments from the night it also provided a great way for people to find photos and tweets from the event, all in one place.

An important part of this is also which accounts are using the hashtag. Key influencer accounts, such as heads of organisations and those with a large number of followers, are crucial to getting your hashtag seen and your voice heard. In the case provided, we had the PR and Communications Manager at PD Ports use the hashtag, as well as a Associate Dean (Business) in School of Social Sciences Business & Law.

These hashtag users are influencers with a large number of followers, similar interests and relevant networks. They both attended the event and joined the social conversation during and after the Ball.

Another important aspect is using the hashtag to generate content before, as well as during and after the event or campaign. This way it can be used to raise awareness, keep up to date and review, allowing for content and posts to grow organically.

An example of user-generated content, Tweets using the #HighTideBall hashtag.

An example of user-generated content, Instagram posts using the #HighTideBall hashtag.

From a wider business point of view, user-generated content gives potential customers a more authentic and reliable insight into a business, service or product. Potential customers are much more likely to trust the view of other customers as oppose to a business. This is proven for sites such as TripAdvisor and Airbnb which are purely user-generated review sites, but the same applies to businesses of any nature.

As well as that, through user-generated content businesses can gain a better understanding of their target audience while strengthening brand identity and community.

All of which are vital marketing components, ultimately allowing for a more tailored customer experience. So next time you have an event or campaign to run, remember to use a hashtag and let your customers do the work for you! And don’t forget, with the recent relaxation of Twitter’s 140 character count, there’s no excuse for not including hashtags!

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