Hashtags: Why and How businesses should use them?

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Hashtags have become a noticeable part of the online world and as of late, more and more social media sites have allowed for the categorizing program known as Hashtags. Hashtags are used to allow users to tag posts, pictures, or even video with a hash symbol (#) followed by a word or phrase, such as #SocialMedia #IT #Cloud #video #infographic etc. Doing this allows the program to categorize anything posted with that Hashtag; this makes it simpler to search for related posts. The implications of this program have not yet been fully realized by the business community. The ability to tag and search using Hashtags can be utilized in all the arenas of the business community.

Why should today’s business community use Hashtags?

A survey from San francisco based ad platform RadiumOne, which polled 500 participants, found:

  • 58 percent of respondents utilize hashtags on a regular basis, and 71 percent of regular hashtag users do so from their mobile devices
  • 43 percent of respondents think hashtags are useful and 34% use them to search/follow categories and brands of personal interest
  • 51 percent of respondents would share hashtags more often if they knew advertisers awarded discounts for sharing product based hashtags
  • 41 percent of respondents use hashtags to communicate personal ideas and feelings

How should today’s business community use the hashtag?

#Promotion
A survey done by Radium one found that 51% of those who responded to the survey said that they would be more willing to share company hashtags if they were awarded discounts or chances at prizes if they were to do so. This is especially powerful for small businesses since launching a campaign needs only good ideas. It is indeed simple effective promotion for small businesses. Not only can you give discounts, and therefore bring in more customers, but this allows you to track promotions activity online.

#Targeting #Customers
Hashtags make it simpler to reach relevant customers. Marketing tools allow brands to advertise based on hashtags. For instance, Twitter lets advertisers target ads by category or interest. Internet surfers who use hashtags are likely to engaging in the social conversation and share their experiences with a brand.

#Conversation
Sometimes it is important to see what the marketplace is saying about a product or brand. According to the RadiumOne survey, 43 percent of respondents think hashtags are useful and 34% use them to search brands of interest.
Hashtags open up the social media world to better converse about your company. A website or a URL post only brings you to the company’s website while a Hashtag allows people to use it in everyday conversations they have on social media. This also allows you to track the conversation and get a better idea of what is being said and how you can utilize that information.

#Combined #Campaigns
Tools like Tagboard now allow you to track a hashtag across all the major social networks. Promote products and engage with customers across all platforms without having to create special campaigns for each. Since the hashtag can be the brand or the product.

#Innovations
Like every new thing, there is immense innovation opportunities are inherited in Hashtags. While hashtags and their use in business have begun to be utilized there are still endless possibilities to what can be done with them. The success of this new bliss is possible because of its simplicity and possible creative ways to use them. They are as easy to produce as campaigns are to incorporate them. For instance American Express recently launched Amex Sync, which lets cardholders make purchases by using hashtags.

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LinkedIn is 10 today!

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It looks like yesterday when I was in complete annoyance about updating each minute detail of  my academics, career and professional journey on LinkedIn. To be honest, it all started in a moment of desperation while finding a new job assignment. I was not leaving any stone unturned and untouched so stumbled upon LinkedIn as well.

Today my morning tablet surfing and coffee made me gather that my emotional shift journey for LinkedIn. Feelings graduated from annoyance to love with an ease. A decade ago, really!

Do I really need to mention that its biggest and busiest business networking site on the internet.  LinkedIn has 200 million members worldwide and the network is growing by two members per second or 10-15 million members per quarter.

I have a ‘love and hate’ kind of relationship with numbers. (I like them when they make achievement look like one. I just start hating when they make a problem look bigger than its solution.) Today I am happy to share numbers for sure.

At present, over 2.8 million businesses have a LinkedIn Company Page. The popularity and global approach is evident from the fact that the website is available in 19 languages: Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Malaysia, Čeština, Dansk, Deutsch, English, Español, Français, 한국어, Italiano, Dutch, 日本语, Norsk, Polski, Português, Română, Русский, Svenska, Türkçe.

LinkedIn and its users did evolve gradually and both helped each other in tremendous ways. It has been a journey for both.

As a LinkedIn admirer, I want to raise a toast for LinkedIn and its users in my way. How about a quick 10 Things To Do LinkedIn List?

  1. Allocate and adhere to your LinkedIn time for each workday
  2. Stay up-to-date about your industry
  3. Stay in the know of your department and business development of your own and competitor’s business development
  4. Keep your LinkedIn inbox clean (not by deleting, by appropriate responses)
  5. Respond to professional requests in hours or days but never in weeks – Delayed response is as rude as no response
  6. Stay conversant with the groups you join
  7. Recognise people for their good work – Recommendations is a key – give and get recommendations, and now with the new feature of Skills endorsements, it’s another quick way to endorse your co-workers and old colleagues
  8. Stay conversant with your own company page, do value add whenever possible
  9. Be status active – Scan the status updates of your connections and nurture relationships
  10. Check your profile often – Would you follow you?

The list can go longer, leaving some room for my readers to add.

I am sure like me, for all you LinkedIn graduated from an annoyance as the moment you updated your details, to an essential business tool. I look at it as an authenticate business card today.

So on this note and toast wishing happy birthday to LinkedIn.

Stay connected!
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/diptibsocialmediastrategist