Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Use of #tag and @ in social media

Social media is a specialised field that has its own unique jargon and symbols. These symbols have sometimes confused the new users.

Fortunately, these social media symbols are easy to master. Understanding their meaning simplifies usage and discoverability of content.

Two prominent symbols that are used on most social media platforms like Twitter and Yookos are the hashtag (#) and the mention (@).

The Hashtag
The hashtag is defined as “a word preceded by a # mark”. It is inserted before a keyword in a post that turns the word into a clickable link. An example of a hashtag is #Yookos.

The hashtag was first proposed by Chris Messina, a former Google employee in 2007. It is now being increasingly used by both businesses and individuals on many social networking platforms.

Whenever a user adds a hashtag to a word, the social network indexes it immediately. Keywords with similar Hashtags are then grouped together in the social networking site’s database.

 When a user clicks on a hashtag, they will be taken to a page that contains all the posts with the identical hashtag.

Therefore, it is apparent that hashtags simplify the process of searching for and discovering content on social networking platforms.

A hashtag that is repeated by many users becomes a trending topic. This is sweet music indeed. When a topic achieves the trending status, it is displayed prominently for other users to locate it easily.
Businesses and content providers benefit from the strategic usage of hashtags in their posts. They can either create their own hashtags for their social media for business campaigns. A classic example is #thankyoumom campaign by Procter and Gamble.

  • The results of that campaign produced the following results for P&G:
  • Most successful campaign in P&G’s 175 year history delivering $200MM+ incremental sales (USA) and record-setting ROI results
  • Portfolio linkage increased 11%
  • Familiarity, Favorability and Trust swelled by 22%, 13% and 10% respectively
  • Advertising recall was +38% higher than other US sponsors
  • Post-Olympics Equity was 8% higher than Pre-Olympics
  • 33.6 Billion earned media impressions
  • 17 Million YouTube views globally
  • Social buzz for P&G’s 3 largest brands increased on average by +66%

Businesses can alternatively ride on the popularity of a hashtag that is related to their brand or product. For example, at the peak of the coverage of the Oscar Pistorius trial in South Africa, the #OscarTrial dominated and became a trending topic. A certain university advertised its law degree programme and inserted #OscarTrial hashtag into its post.

This gave the post a great visibility from the millions of users who were following the trial. However, a word of caution. Riding on other hashtags is risky business and relevancy must be established first.
Additionally, social networking platform users must avoid being too spammy with the hashtags. Two or three are sufficient in a post.

Hashtags can also be included in the profile information of a user. This will enable the user’s profile to show up when that hashtag is searched for.

On the other hand the @ symbol in social networking is for mentioning or tagging users in the posts. The @ symbol is put before the profile name and when it is inserted into a post, the user is alerted.
This is a clever way of involving influencers in a conversation online.
The hashtag and @ symbols are very important in social conversations and they can be used on many social networking platforms. They allow content to be searchable and enable other users to be involved in the conversations.

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