If you ever want a crash course on the latest social media studies but don’t want to spend the money to do them yourself, just watch the Super Bowl. You have to assume that if companies are spending millions to produce and distribute 30 second spots for the big game, they’re going to research what’s working today.
This year’s big takeaway was a shift in the way that companies were presenting their social media. As described here, there’s even a debate about the winners and losers. The results of the research were easy to spot. Many advertisers decided that hashtags were the way to go social this year.
If you think about it, nothing could be simpler to understand. Hashtags are social network agnostic with the glaring exception of Facebook. Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and countless other social networks apply hashtags to their streams to allow for tagging and easier searching. Popular hashtags often get featured on these sites. It’s a way to win bigger than simply posting a Twitter handle or Facebook page URL.
You should apply the same concept to your campaigns, particularly when interaction is a part of it (and it should be). It’s no longer about sending people to your profiles through your advertising. They won’t go. If they want to interact with you on social media, they’ll find you (at least they should be able to if you’re doing it right in search and on your website). They will, however, be willing to take part in a conversation. The best way to group conversations on every venue other than Facebook is through hashtags.
For Facebook, things are different and that deserves a blog post of its own, but for now if you focus on hashtags to spread your campaign messages in your advertising (print, television, and just about everywhere else), you’ll find that your social media interactions can improve. If you’re still posting your profile handle next to a blue bird, you’re probably not getting anything out of it and simply wasting space.