New Uses for the Hashtag; #HashtagHolidays
- Ally Reis
- On July 23, 2013
Vodafone Netherlands recently launched their #HashtagHolidays campaign, which, with the help of Achtung!, uses travel-based hashtags on social media to recommend vacation destinations. Their #HashtagHolidays website provides categorized hashtags to travelers based on content, then organizes them by popularity on social media sites in Europe. If a user clicks on a hashtag that applies to the vacation they’re looking for, #HashtagHolidays will recommend the location in which that tag has been most used.
As hashtag uses have grown, they’ve become more relevant to the advertising world for promoting brands, researching user interest, and connecting with consumers. The possible uses and benefits of hashtags have multiplied exponentially in the last few years, but they had a humble beginning as a tool for organizing messages in Internet Relay Chat programs by labeling groups and topics.
With the invention of Twitter, hashtags became popular as a way to tag topics within tweets. If promoted or used by enough individuals, a single hashtag can trend, which on Twitter brings it to the “Trending Topics” page where even more people can view the tag. Companies like Vodafone Netherlands can then harness these trending hashtags for their own uses.
In the past few years, primetime TV shows have begun to use hashtags as a way to gauge interest in as well as promote a show. When shows like “How I Met Your Mother” use a universal hashtag as simple as #HIMYM, they’re able to follow the use of the hashtag on twitter before, during and after the show to track viewer interest and response. When shows bring this Twitter use to attention on their broadcasts, there is an immediate increase in engagement on Twitter, making this sort of trend tracking even easier for companies following social media responses.
The ability to follow and organize the trends of hashtags is not only useful for data analysis, but for business as well. While Vodafone Netherlands is offering users vacation recommendations based on hashtag popularity, they’re also promoting their “All-in-1” travel package, which allows consumers to use their phones internationally for two euros a day (approximately $2.60). There’s also a chance to win a trip to select destinations when users “check in” to their desired destination every Thursday. In this way, the company reinvents the use of a social media tool to both make travel planning easier and advertise for their own product.
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