Some years ago, on sight of a hash symbol we were thinking of tic-tac-toe. Now, we think of publicity and popularity. Let me share a short story with you. Once upon a time, in 2007 actually, Chris Messina (former Google employee) was the first person ever to use the hash symbol in social media. This was the beginning of a new marketing era; I bet Mr. Messina never guessed what an invention he made that day while posting on Twitter. He proposed the use of # in one of his Tweets for grouping and categorizing purposes. Two years later Twitter adopted the idea of the new use of the # symbol and incorporated it into the platform’s code making every hashtagged word or phrase a hyperlink. From that point onwards, the hash symbol was going to be used for grouping topics based on phrases and words starting with it. It was not until a couple of years ago that other social media platforms incorporated hashtags into their systems. Today, a hashtag is one of the most powerful tools for connecting with people all over the world.
The story I am telling you seems to have a beginning but no ending. Actually, it looks like the history of the “hashtag” will be a long one and will absolutely have a happy-ending – whenever that might be. That being said, let’s discuss the basic characteristics of hashtags as a marketing technique and the main advantages for your hotel business. First off, there are no restrictions as you can hashtag any word or phrase you want, but hashtagging without a solid purpose is useless. Secondly, hashtags have to be relevant with your hotel. There is no reason to add the symbol to irrelevant concepts because if you come up to search results that have nothing to do with your business you will be considered spam. Thirdly, you should not overdo it. Although it is quite easy to hashtag every single word in a tweet or a post, you should never do this. The optimal number of hashtags is two to three.
As far as the main benefits of using hashtags are concerned, we will start with the most obvious and easily proven. When you use the right hashtag, you can address millions of people that you would never had the chance to without it. In fact, hashtags seem to rule the social media marketing sphere and you should just let them do the same to your hotel’s social media accounts. It is just about time to start using them properly. Then, using hashtags is the most convenient and easiest way to increase brand awareness and lead engagement. In fact, there many examples out there that prove the power of a hashtag and the great impact they have. In addition, hashtags allow you to communicate with the audience and increase engagement. Finally but most importantly, hashtags increase brand awareness, as they give your hotel the chance to get a good position in the webosphere. In fact, a hashtag can build a brand on the web.
How can you use hashtags for your hotel’s digital marketing efforts? First, you need to build your online image around a single hashtag. Whether it is your hotel’s name (which we would recommend) or any other aspect you want, there has to be a single hashtag, which will hopefully define you in the future. Secondly, if you are not in a position to run a hashtag campaign yourself, you could focus on trending topics. Many websites allow you to search for trending topics in real-time. However, do not use irrelevant hashtags, as that will disappoint visitors. If you are on your first marketing steps and you need to raise awareness and attract people to your hotel then you could use your hotel’s name together with its location, the beach nearby or whatever you think would be more recognizable but most of all, more searchable. In addition, another way to attract visitors is to mention characteristics that either define or make your hotel standout from competition (for ex. #leisure or #sandybeach). Moreover, if you want to attract potential customers you could use terms relevant to searching and booking.
To sum up, although it is a relatively new technique, the use of hashtags is one of the most powerful social media marketing techniques. Actually, it is so powerful that it has moved from the Internet to other kind of media as well. In fact, we see hashtags advertised on television or radio shows, on printed material and so on. So, every conscious hotelier should make the most out them through the hotel’s social media accounts.
Tip! Try the Hotelgenius Power Tool that allows you to schedule your posts in advance – including your #hashtags! #hotelgenius