Lessons from the Aviation Industry: Using Hashtags to Help Boost Social Media Marketing

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The hashtag has become a widely used symbol in the world of social media. The hashtag, which uses the hash mark (#), also known as the pound sign, allows for an unlimited amount of information to be categorized into the same shareable, linkable space provided by its hashtag. Any kind of organization, big or small can utilize this tool for marketing purposes. For example, in the aviation sector, the hashtag has been extremely beneficial not only to airlines, but also industry leaders and passengers. Below I’ll explain what a hashtag is, why it is important to implement them into your social media marketing strategy, and how to do so successfully.

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is a hash symbol (#) followed by a word, acronym, or short phrase. The hashtag is then automatically linked to all other social media posts and files using the same tag within a social media platform. For example, if Delta uses the hashtag #FlyDelta in their social media posts, all of the posts will be linked to any other social media users’ content under #FlyDelta. This tool categorizes relevant materials and allows users to tag and search using the most used hashtags associated with your content. In the aviation industry and other industries, this tool can be used to promote your organization, or even see what passengers, customers, or clients think about your service.

Why is the hashtag important?

Chances are your organization has some form of a social media marketing plan, and if this is the case, you should be using hashtags to sort your materials. Facebook was one of the last social media networks to recognize this tool in 2013. Now Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Google+, and Pinterest all use hashtags to link data. If your company has accounts on any or all of these social media platforms, using a hashtag is an opportunity for you to expand your reach. Hashtags not only link your social media posts to other relevant ones, but they allow your organization’s posts to be viewed by a wider audience. When you include a hashtag on your social media posts, even people who have not liked or followed your page will be able to see it when they search the hashtag.

This tool allows customers and other Internet users to search relevant content without confusion. It is also important to remember that even if you have created a hashtag, the public is still able to use it. This is an important aspect of hashtags that might affect business. If your hashtag starts being used to collect content that you do not want your company associated with, you may need to change it.

How to create and use hashtags

Engaging with the public through hashtags is usually quite beneficial to consumer-facing organizations such as the aviation industry. Airlines often use hashtags to get the word out about upcoming promotions, giveaways, or competitions among followers. These promotions not only allow these organizations to reach a wider audience, but they also encourage social media users to interact with them and become customers for services in the future.

However, it is extremely important to research the current use of hashtags before creating a hashtag for your organization. If you search a hashtag and see that it is either already being used to collect material that is irrelevant your marketing strategy, you should choose a more unique tag. The Internet’s most used hashtags are short and easy to remember, but if a hashtag is too vague it may be a good idea to come up with something more specific. For example, if Delta has a promotion taking place, they won’t simply use #Delta. The word “delta” doesn’t solely refer to the airline and therefore this hashtag is most likely already being used by a number of different social media users and won’t lead viewers directly to Delta’s promotional content. However when the airline posts #DeltaProud most of their content refers to employee pride in working for the company. This hashtag is specific enough to collect only relevant material.

Another important factor to remember when using hashtags is to not overuse the tool. It is important to only use trending hashtags if you are actually discussing whatever event the hashtag refers to. Using too many hashtags or simply adding in trending hashtags to your posts will just add clutter to the tag. These posts generally get overlooked because they can overwhelm the viewers. On the other hand, it’s important to make your hashtags stand out. Some of the most used hashtags on social media platforms are popular because they are either eye-catching, easy to remember, or funny. It is important to keep these tags relatively short so that social media users will actually remember them. However, simply using #sky or #flight won’t reach an aviation firm’s target audience because these are overused hashtags and include a lot of unrelated content.

Hashtags can be used to target certain audiences based on the types of things they search. Your organization can also use trending hashtags to reach an even broader audience. If there is a breaking news story or a hot topic in pop culture, you can use hashtags to add your input to the topic. Because the most used hashtags are being viewed by thousands of social media users, if you use a trending hashtag in your Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter posts, a huge audience will have access to it. Following trending hashtags allows users to keep up-to-date on events, which is a great opportunity for your business to stay informed and share information as well.

Aviation marketing teams use hashtags to track company performance and improve customer service. Hashtags also allow airlines to respond easily to customer feedback. When customers post about your product or service using your hashtag, you have access to these reviews, can monitor the conversation, and directly respond to the review. For example, if an airline is making a major change that will affect its customers, using a hashtag allows customers to share their thoughts on the change (good or bad) with one another. Seeing these reactions gives an organization a chance to adapt based on the customer reactions they receive.

The importance of hashtags on social media is steadily increasing across all industries. Hashtags allow us to follow other trending hashtags, keep up with events, and promote products through contests and giveaways, and track customer satisfaction. These small words and phrases string all relatable content together on various social media platforms and help organizations reach wider audiences. Hopefully these tips will help amp up your hashtag game and help your organization meet its objectives!

How have you used #hashtags? How might you use #hashtags in the future? Please share your comments below and follow us on social media so we can continue the conversation!

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CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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