I am currently peering through that tiny window in time when your kid thinks you’re cool. Or… “boss”. So it’s all about poppin’ tags and iTunes playlists around here. Soon enough my kid will also become my Facebook Friend and Twitter Follower. And so I’ve been thinking a bit about the integrity [and lack thereof] in social media as an adolescent pastime and how I can serve my child by educating him and others.
Working in digital media affords me advantages in that I understand the tools being used and where the risks and rewards can be found. I realize my 10 year old understands more than I give him credit for. I both love and loathe his keen interest in technology. He loves Jimmy Fallon [who doesn’t] and we stumbled across the ever popular #hashtag video. After, I asked if he knows what a hashtag is. He replied, “It’s used to explain more about something.” This seems to be the common understanding as I see many people [guilty] using hashtags merely to accessorize their status update: #selfie #summerfun #yolo #thingstoddlersdo
Then I asked my savvy but social media-agnostic husband about the hashtag. He replied, “It’s a # symbol used to denote topics to create streams of traffic as a reference point and people can have big parties with and around their beloved hashtags.”
That’ll do. Actually, it can be a massive engagement tool. Hashtags can be used to generate new content and topics of discussion either out of sheer boredom: #LiesIveToldMyParents, as a practical way to follow trending discussion around an event: #Olympics2014 or #RoyalBaby, and as a brand strategy. Check out these Shorty Awards.
I know it can be awkward to understand and sometimes explain. I am the kind of learner who learns best when doing. So I really understood the power in the hashtag after I hosted a Twitter party for Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant and created a social campaign to nurture mid-season visitors around the topic of summer fun and the hashtag #JENKSLOVE.
We designed and promoted the event, and gathered key influencers for their experience. We used an incredible tool called Hashtracking to harvest all the real-time data during the Twitter party, transcript the Twitter stream and archive a full report for my clients including top influencers, most tweets, the full reach and more. For enterprise level organizations, this also is a fantastic way to measure the success of social campaigns. Here’s that fabulous report.
For the casual user, hashtags can be a fun way to amplify thoughts. For the social media consultant to the brand ambassador, hashtags should be used more strategically to organize and promote mass and meaningful conversation around a topic, product or organization and that activity should always be tracked in order to measure success.