Wednesday, January 16, 2013

#wheredidthisthingcomefromandhowtouseitinSEO


I’ve been on twitter for several years now.  I was the guy telling all his friends about this great new website that they had to get onto.  When I first started seeing the # sign I was a little confused.  We now see hashtags everywhere. 

Hashtags (#) were first created to group conversations together.  Chris Messina is credited for being the first one to propose using the #hashtag symbol.

 Link

He went to the twitter executives but they didn’t like them and many thought they were ugly.  Regardless, the phenomenon caught on especially during the San Diego fires of 2007 and during a session of Congress around that same time. (Gannes)
The hashtag is still used for its original purpose but its use has expanded by exponential proportions.  Not only is it used as a metadata tag to group certain conversations but it's also used by media outlets to promote conversations about live broadcasts or other live events.  Although its origin meant to be used on twitter, it can be found all over social media including Google+, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr.  It’s part of our everyday social media lives.  It’s often used to make funny, witty, or sarcastic comments.  Almost every other Facebook status I read has #some #sort #of #comment #that #includes #a #hashtag.  It is even found in our everyday language as Barney Stinson can show us:


(Darling)

The question now is how we can use hashtags to improve our Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and also help promote our businesses. 
As social media becomes more important in SEO, it is necessary to understand how to best use our social media platforms.  It’s important to make sure our social media posts are relevant to our business, align with strategic decisions of the company and with other marketing promotions, and are posted on a consistent basis.  This all helps to improve our search results.  Additionally, we can use hashtags to optimize those results.  According to Buddy Media, using a hashtag “provides a 21% increase in engagement when used a maximize of twice in a post.” (Stalnaker)

Furthermore, using hashtags on social media can help you to reach your target market and then to get your market to see your posts.  If there is a trending topic, among your target market, that is grouped by a hashtag, include that hashtag in your own post.  That way you’ll get more of the "right" eyes on your post. 
You can also create hashtags of your business name and try to start conversations on twitter about your business.  It’s important to have a presence on social media in your particular industry, market, and with your consumers.  Hashtags are one way to connect to them. 
Also, use hashtags in your traditional media campaigns.  Include hashtags on your billboards, TV spots, and mailers.  Don’t give your consumers the excuse that they didn’t know where to find you.  Twitter continues to grow.  Make sure they can find you there easily. 
One last tip: Don’t be like Barney and hashtag everything you say.  It’s annoying and can easily drive away your users.
References
Bethany (2012). http://blog.jibemedia.com/2012/12/14/4-simple-ways-to-integrate-social-media-into-your-traditional-marketing-campaigns/. [Viewed January 14, 2013].
Cruz, Ryan (2012).  “Social Media Marketing” http://www.business2community.com/twitter/twitter-hashtags-for-seo-a-great-tool-for-your-local-business-0377653. [Viewed January 14, 2013].
Darling, Meredith (2012). “Evolution of Hashtag” http://www.socialmediadelivered.com/2012/01/30/evolution-of-the-hashtag/. [Viewed January 14, 2013].
Fisher, John (2012).  “Maximizing Your Tweets” http://www.fuseworkstudios.com/maximizing-your-tweets-infographic. [Viewed January 14, 2013].
Gannes, Liz (2010). “The Short and Illustrious History of Twitter” http://gigaom.com/2010/04/30/the-short-and-illustrious-history-of-twitter-hashtags/. [Viewed January 14, 2013].
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Stalnaker, Ashley (2013). “3 Social Media Tips to Drive SEO” http://www.business2community.com/social-media/3-social-media-tips-to-drive-seo-0373913. [Viewed January 14, 2013].