2014 has been a very active year in terms of the level of hashtag influence. Several mass movements were created and enhanced through the power and engagement of hashtags across different social media outlets. It’s incredible how a single message has been communicated through several different channels, reaching international and external audiences. An event that sparked my attention was when NFL members embraced the protest through the power of the hashtag, #icantbreathe on their shirts. This shows the massive potential of hashtag use. The setting of this issue focused mainly with activists across the world, to expression in national sporting arenas. It dramatically heightened the issue, bringing large government and media attention, but also raising certain issues of ignorance to the surface.
I think what’s incredibly important is how you use hashtags. #blacklivesmatter and other influential hashtags became widespread because of their supporting hashtags as well. To successfully communicate an issue, I think it’s necessary to know how to channel your issue on the digital web. What’s interesting about the Jimmy Fallon + Justin Timberlake video is that they implement trending words, phrases, emotions, sounds, and musical lyrics to strengthen the point they are trying to get across.
I’ve noticed specific companies adopting hashtags for the use of branding. They create a customized hashtag that works to characterize their brand. Through this they are increasing engagement, and strengthening customer awareness. I think this is a useful tool for marketing and to also learn deeper who is your target audience – the real customer.
Here’s an example of how brands like Dove + Twitter are integrating hashtags to realize specific issues, identify the customer needs/problems, and capitalize on the opportunity for a solution: