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The Power of Hashtags

Log on to most social media platforms and you’ll likely see a bunch of # signs floating around. No, they do not designate a phone number; instead, they’re an easy and useful way to grow your products and brand in a way that consumers are familiar with. Not sure what they mean or how they work? Stick with me. I’ll explain what hashtags are, why they’re useful and how to use them in your marketing practice.

The Power of Hashtags

What are hashtags?

According to Twitter, “The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.”

Now, they’ve expanded beyond Twitter to many other social sharing sites—namely Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest—as a way to group like items into one. You simply put a # with a single word or phrase (make sure not to use punctuation or spaces) in your post, and it automatically turns into a clickable link.

It’s common to use hashtags for a big event, promotion, or product launch. For example, say you’re going to one of Cisco’s largest events, Cisco Live! You document your days by sharing your pictures on Instagram and stay updated with regular tweets, but add in the #CiscoLive hashtag and boom – you’re suddenly synced up with others who are also talking about Cisco Live!  You instantly have a connection to others in the industry, thanks to this little symbol.

Why do hashtags matter?

  1. Networking. Using hashtags allows you to reach a new audience you might not have interacted with.
  2. Advertising. If people start hashtagging their photos or tweets with something related to your company or a campaign you’re running, their followers will also see this, possibly driving them to your site and, fingers crossed, becoming a new partner or customer.
  3. Building relationships. Click on a hashtag related to your product or industry and you’ll see not only what customers are interested in, but also what they’re saying. You can then start a conversation with these folks, leading to an introduction about your company or a solution to a problem they might be having.
  4. Relevance. By clicking on a hashtag, you’ll find tons of other tweets, images, and posts that are related. Try it: head to Twitter, search #CloudComputing and you’ll see hundreds of comments, articles, and photos related to the subject. It’s worthwhile to take some time to search for hashtags relevant to your company and industry to see what other products or information comes up.

There are a number of benefits to start adding that # sign to your posts. Does your company use them? Have you tried using hashtags in a marketing campaign? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Video Integration in Social Media

Although I have only been working in Cisco Social Media for several months, I have discovered much about its impact and the strategies for leveraging it at both the corporate and personal level.

With the growing popularity of video services such as YouTube, Vine, and Instagram, it was only a matter of time before video content became a standard for all social media channels. Users want content delivered to them in the easiest, most effective manner that maximizes their time and capitalizes upon their interests. A video is often a great way to do this, but how it should be implemented is pivotal to it being successful in garnering attention.

Fortunately there are numerous mediums available today that allow for delivering video content specific to your needs, and the needs of your audience. But before choosing which of these to use, the user must consider the attention span of their audience, who their audience is, and what the learning goals are (if any). Vine, Instagram, and YouTube, are three different video hosting sites that integrate with all forms of social media, and all have different uses, advantages, and disadvantages.

                                                  vine-app-icon 1   instagram-icon[1]  youtube7

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Exploring Social Media with Caution

May 15, 2013 at 8:39 pm PST

Today, we have never been so connected and accessible.  Information has never been that easy to get.  And we’ve never been spoiled with so many updates.

I used to remember sending snail mails (from Manila) to my grandma who was living in the U.S. back then.  That took a lot of time.  I remember my friends sharing with me that they stayed up late by writing excitedly in their diary.  And I remember spending time in the library to research on the works of Picasso or to learn more about the Renaissance Age.  How time has changed.

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#CoxCiscoTV TweetChat at CES and #PersonalTV Instagram Photo Contest

Guest Blog by Sarah Evans, Social Media Correspondent

Sarah-Evans

Sarah Evans (@prsarahevans) is the chief evangelist at Tracky and owner of Sevans Strategy, a public relations and new media consultancy. She’s the author of new book, [RE]FRAME: Little Inspirations For A Larger Purpose (published by SlimBooks). It’s her personal mission to engage and employ the use of emerging technologies in all communication that connects her with a rapidly growing base of more than 120,000 people. A “for good” advocate, Sarah worked with a local crisis center to raise more than $161K in three weeks via social media and is a team member of the Guinness Book World Record holding #beatcancer. Sarah can be seen in Vanity Fair’s Americas Tweethearts, Forbes’ 14 Power Women to Follow on Twitter and Entrepreneur’s Top 10 Hot Startups of 2010.

For the past few days I’ve had the privilege of serving as entertainment services provider Cox Communications social correspondent at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and working very closely with the Cisco team promoting the personal TV experience. TV is everywhere at CES. And it’s right on par. Nielsen says that Americans are actually watching more TV than ever – about 34 hours per week, in fact.

Cox and Cisco have been working very closely this week with joint announcements on the personalized television experience. Working with Cisco, Cox evolved their video services platform to deliver more personalized video experiences, offering their customers more of what they enjoy. While Cox customers have been able to watch 90 channels of live, linear TV on an iPad for more than a year now, this new app – powered by Cisco’s Videoscape Unity software and technology – expands the service to iPhones and iPods, adding significant improvements in navigation. Learn more about the announcement here.

It’s hard to miss the focus on hardware at CES, specifically on size and sharpness. However, I think the real story about TV at CES is what’s happening on the backend. And what’s the big innovation? The personalization, synchronization and socialization of video, with personal on the forefront.

To keep the buzz around TV going I moderated a #CoxCiscoTV Twitter chat to talk more about the idea of #PersonalTV with Cox Communications and Cisco executives. Our Twitter lineup was made up of:

  • Len Barlik, EVP of Product Development, Cox Communications (@Cox_PR)
  • Martin De Beer, SVP of Video and Collaboration Group, Cisco, (@MartinDeBeer)
  • Nick Thexton, CTO, Service Provider Video Technology Group, Cisco, (@CiscoSPVideo)

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