British mid-range hotel chain, Best Western, jumped on the hash tag bandwagon recently with the use of an unusual tagline: #cheerup. Demonstrating that the firm care as much about pleasing their customers and voicing their human side as they do about good old marketing, Best Western’s innovative use of the hashtag shows that they are truly embracing social media in all its glory.

For those new to the hashtag phenomenon, it’s a trend exclusive to Twitter than involves preceding a word with a hash symbol.

In essence, the purpose of a hashtag is to help people find Tweeters and Tweets relevant to their interests – in effect, to create the idea of a ‘group’; a concept that otherwise doesn’t exist on Twitter. For example, someone posting a piece of business news might end the Tweet with #business. Someone searching for business news should then be able to find this by searching for #business.

What Can Other Companies Learn from Best Western?

That social media isn’t all about exposure and increasing profits. Social media is about building relationships with your customers and needless to say, trying to cheer them up is a great way to do this!

Other companies would benefit from following suit and thinking outside the box to do something a little different with social media, even if it offers them minimal publicity. The use of the #cheerup hashtag shows that Best Western care about more than just profits, they care about their customers too – something many large corporations could learn from.

Using Hashtags

If you want to use a hashtag, it’s advisable to do a little bit of research first to see if an established hashtag for the topic already exists. While you might be able to start your own trend, if you’re talking about a popular subject you may well fare better to use an existing hashtag; particularly if you’re a small brand trying to build your social media presence. Tagdef is a fantastic resource for finding relevant hashtags.

If however, you want to create a buzz around something in particular, such as an event you’re running, then the use of a new hashtag is ideal.

It’s also worth remembering this unwritten rule regarding hashtags: don’t overuse them. It might seem like a good idea to turn every word of a Tweet into a hashtag but in reality, your post will be flagged as spam and ignored.