Report: Brands are twits for not capitalising on hashtags

8th Apr 2013

Twitter hashtags may be the great misunderstood resource of social media marketing, according to new research, with brands either failing to capitalise on consumer enthusiasm for them, or else inappropriately using them as spam tactics.

According to new research from RadiumOne, 20% of consumers believe hashtags are mainly good for finding brands and products, coming second only to identifying trends (30%).

The report, which analysed how consumers perceive, value, and use hashtags, showed that 58% of respondents (predominately women (71%) aged (44%)) claimed to use hashtags, with over half (58%) doing so on a regular basis and 71% from their mobile devices. This suggests that hashtags are more likely to be acted upon by mobile Twitter users.

So what are they using hashtags for? 41% said the main reason for doing so is to communicate personal ideas and feelings, showing users view hashtags primary as a form of self-expression and content discovery.

The survey also showed that consumers would be more likely to share brand hashtags if they were given discounts for doing so (50%) whilst 25% said they would do so if the content was personally relevant.

Kamal Kaur from RadiumOne said: “Unlike other forms of social sharing, hashtags implicitly reflect customer sentiment and are one of the most powerful ways consumers have to vocalise their tastes and preferences at scale in a real-time fashion.”

However, brands have to be responsible in how they use hashtags. Brands such as Habitat have been brought to task for spamming users via hashtags in the past, hijacking trending topics to plug their stores. In a post last year on this topic, blogger Neville Hobson reported that up to 10% of tweets using a trending hashtag were spam. 

Rupert Staines recently provided advice on how businesses can appropriately target hashtags to better connect with customers, as well as sharing nine tips for hashtag success.

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