As much as I can remember, the very first social networking site that promote the use of hashtags is Twitter. After that, Facebook, Instagram, and Google+ followed. The Hashtag (#) has already been used in Information Technology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashtag) to emphasize or highlight a special meaning. Nowadays, it is commonly used in microblogging and social networking sites to categorize statuses and posts by letting other users find related topics for various purposes.
Hashtags on Google+
The screenshot above shows an example of a hashtag in Google+. Same with hashtags in other social media sites, Google+ hashtags () help people find and join conversations about a particular topic. The post above is a news release related to an air conditioning repair service. People who are looking for topics related to air conditioning can find this post by just clicking the hashtag. The hyperlink will lead to a result page wherein all related posts inside Google+ about air conditioning are displayed.
When to Use Google+ Hashtags for Your Business
As simple as it looks, the use of hashtags can actually make a difference in putting your brand or products in front of your target audience. Google hashtags, like any other hashtag feature (use in other social networking sites) can be maximized in different ways to promote your business.
In promoting your latest press release – The hashtag feature can be an essential tool in promoting your press release across Google+. It would also enable you to monitor how your competitors promote theirs by checking related posts. By putting a hashtag in your post, you are letting your target audience find you.
In promoting and monitoring events – One of the most popular use of a hashtag is in monitoring posts or feedback about an event that’s soon to happen or currently happening. If you are a company that organizes an IT Convention in your local community, the best way to promote your event is to create an official hashtag and ask your attendees to use it every time they will post anything related to the event. For example, if you are organizing an IT Convention in New York, your attendees can post something like this – “Currently attending #ITConventionNewYork2014. Learned a lot from the keynote speaker.” The hashtag “#ITConventionNewYork2014” helps you see all posts in Google+ related to your event.
In tracking feedback and opinions about your product or service – This is real-time tracking. Hashtags allow you to track any feedback or comment from clients or customers as long as they set the privacy of their Google+ posts to public. This can help you a lot in making initial assessment about your products/services.
In monitoring your online reputation – If your business had already created a large following and had already established a name in your niche, the importance of taking good care of your reputation both online and offline is something you should not take out from your priorities. Sample all possible hashtags anyone can use in tagging your business and find out what they are talking about. Prevention is better than cure, thus it is very important to contain any negative publicity before it can spread like wildfire.
Google+ hashtag also displays related terms of the hashtag you use. See screenshot below.
This data can be used if you are researching current trends that can impact on how you need to promote your products/services. A #ValentinesDay hashtag has generated so many related results that can tell an online publishing company what hot topics they can cover for Valentine’s Day.
Creating an official hashtag for your brand in Google+ and across other social networking sites doesn’t only let your target audience find you, it also has a lot more uses especially when it comes to tracking and monitoring ideas that can directly or indirectly affect your business in the long run.