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Twitter introduces World Cup #HashFlags

2nd July 2014

The 20th Fifa World Cup recently commenced in Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo, Brazil on the 12th of June. The opening ceremony included acrobatic gymnasts, trampolinists, capoeira performers, stilt walkers and Jenifer Lopez and Olodum performing the tournaments official anthem ‘We are one’. But where the #### do hashtags fit in to this?

Hashtags help your posts get found by people who are searching for that particular hashtag. For example, if someone searches for ‘worldcup’, Twitter will mostly come up with #worldcup related results so that people can easily keep up with all the related news on that topic. So you can see it as a way of making the tweets that you had in mind easier to search for. By adding the hashtag symbol (#), it creates a hyperlink which is clickable by users and enables you to find tweets corresponding to that exact phrase.

World Cup Sponsor #Hashtags: There are a number of hashtags for the world cup; if we take the percentage of tweets containing the word ‘worldcup’, the most popular are #worldcup (71.77%), #brazil (31.52%), #fifa (17.22%), #football (17.09%), and #fifa2014 (13.29%) to name a few, with #worldcup2014 (85.15%) at the top with 150,000 mentions.

Twitter have enabled special hashtags called ‘Hashflags’, these were first introduced in 2010 and are used to represent any of the 32football # teams that you might be supporting. All you have to do is enter the ‘#’ and the three letter abbreviation of your team and you’ll have a little flag come up right next to your tweet.

Companies create their own hashtags for events to promote themselves. For example, Adidas created the hashtag ‘#allin’ which had around 25,000 more mentions than other hashtags on the 7th of June, hashtags such as #takeme2brazil (Kia), #worldscup (Coca-Cola Hashtag), #becausefutbol (Hyundai), #onestadium (Sony). The potential reason why #allin works so well is because “all in” includes the person who’s reading it and somewhat satisfies a need to belong that sits within a hierarchy of human needs, like security, food, self-esteem…etc. proposed by the famous psychologist, Abraham Maslow.

‘Hashtag strategies’ are an effective form of marketing because, as a recent survey suggests, 58% of people use hashtags on a regular basis, and 70% favour hashtags on mobile devices. If you take this into perspective with a study by Statista, predicting that 5 billion people will use mobile by 2017, it looks like this preference will become a standard. Companies can also track and compare how well their hashtags are doing on websites like Hashtags.org, which gives the amount of mentions each hour, or if you need more information, Talkwater, which takes gender, geographic, and even information of the potential opinion that your tweeting sample has.