Friday, May 02, 2014

Ruminating on the #hashtag economy

The '#' (hash) symbol was originally created for twitter users to categorize their messages. It was used by Twitter users to identify keywords and trending topics. After Twitter, users on other Social channels such as Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest jumped on the bandwagon and started using #hashtags to participate in online conversations on a topic. A good article explaining the origin of hashtag is available here.

Ironically Facebook adopted #hashtags quite late in the game. But today Facebook has full support for hashtags and when we click on a hashtag, we see a feed of all posts (what people are saying) about that event or topic. Hashtags have become so popular that recently Obama encouraged citizens to use the hashtag "#1010Means" to protest against low minimum wages.

Needless to say hashtags are a powerful concept for advertisers to capitalize on. It helps advertises to market their products/services to the right audience; who are interested in a particular subject.

Organizations have also stated using the power of hashtags in Social channels for building innovative services that bring in new sources of revenue or help improve customer satisfaction rates. This whole new paradigm is known as the "#hashtag economy". 

For e.g. Amex has creatively used hashtags to send promotions to their customers. https://sync.americanexpress.com/twitter/Index

Kotak Bank has created a Customer Self-Service platform on Twitter; wherein customers can tweet the right hashtags to perform banking transactions such as checking balance, request for checkboook, etc. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/banking/finance/banking/kotak-mahindra-bank-links-current-accounts-to-twitter/articleshow/32733759.cms