Twitter Metrics Defined: Hashtags
Find the full Twitter metrics collection in our Guide to Twitter Analytics.
Hashtags are one of the greatest tools social marketers have at their disposal. Yes, some marketers abuse the feature. Yes, there’s a relatively steep learning curve and some appeared ambiguity when it comes to using hashtags as a tactic. But when it comes to campaign management, organization, and branding; it’s hard to top the simple power of the hashtag.
Hashtags are terms used in Tweets (and now on Facebook and Instagram as well) that are searchable, clickable, and measurable.
What Do Hashtags Mean to You?
Hashtags should be a part of any Twitter strategy. They allow marketers to engage with users they otherwise wouldn’t be able to, and to build branded campaigns of their own. Hashtags can be used in a variety of ways:
1.) Campaigns: When conducting a specific campaign, hashtags can be used to distinguish engaged Tweets and users, searched to see activity and interest, and branded to promote your cause or company. For example, if I wanted to promote a giveaway of a t-shirt and some stickers, I might brand the hashtag #SimplySwag and ask users to Tweet using the hashtag for a chance to win.
2.) Increased Reach: Hashtags of specific topics are often searched and monitored by marketers and users with specific interests. For example, if I Tweeted this post with the hashtags #SocialMedia and #Twitter, I increase my chance of reaching social media marketers who are interested in learning more.
3.) Chats: There are countless regular Twitter Chats out there that use specific hashtags to allow users to organize the conversation. For example, if I wanted to host a regular conversation about social media measurement, I might choose the hashtag #MeasureChat. This allows me to promote a searchable term that allows users to view, and interact with anyone getting involved in the chat or conversation.
4.) Discovery: When doing research, hashtags can be searched to discover interests, sentiment, attitudes and demographics of the users engaging with the hashtag.
5.) Comparison: Different hashtags can be measured and compared to identify trends, growth, or disparity. This is important for recurring campaigns and competitive analysis.
How to Measure Hashtags
The above chart compares three consecutive years of tweets using the Consumer Electronics Show’s branded hashtags. When trended over the same amount of time, we’re able to identify growth trends and determine the events that caused specific spikes and drops in activity.
Hashtags are easy to track using the Simply Measured Twitter Activity Report, or Stream Snapshot report, and can be trended over time to measure volume and activity. This can be important for researching opportunity, identifying successes, and measuring causes of peaks and lulls in activity.
As the Head of Marketing Communications at Simply Measured and generally delightful person, my job is to use data to tell stories to the internet that help the internet get better at telling stories...You're welcome internet.