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What is a Hashflag?

This morning journalist Robert Peston introduced his new personalised emoji to the world of Twitter in the form of his own ‘Hashflag’. Peston’s new Hashflag has been met with mixed reviews with some saying this is a sign that Peston has ‘made it’ on Twitter whilst others have branded the journalist a narcissist.

But what is a Hashflag, how does it differ from a Hashtag, and like Peston, can you get your own Hashflag?

What is a Hashflag?

First things first, let’s clear up what a Hashflag is and how it differs from a regular Hashtag. A Hashflag is a hashtag with a Twitter emoji forming part of the tag. Social Media platform Instagram already supports hashtags with emojis, but emojis can’t be used as part of the standard Hashtag on Twitter.

The 2010 World Cup was the first documented use of Hashflags, but it wasn’t until 2014 that Twitter first introduced Hashflags as a way for brands to inject some fun and character into their Twitter marketing. Hashflags allowed big brands like Coca Cola to incorporate Twitter-friendly emojis into the standard Hashtag to draw attention to their brand.

If you use Twitter the chances are you have seen a Hashflag, maybe even used one, without even realising you have done so. Hashflags are often used during big sporting events, new movie and television releases or as part of a larger marketing effort by big brands. During the World Cup for example, anyone using the Hashtag to support their national team will likely have used a Hashflag with the national flag emoji, the irony hasn’t been lost on me that my example of a Hashflag quite literally features a flag…

One of the drawbacks of Hashflags is that they only exist as a Hashflag for a certain period of time after which the emoji element disappears and the once flashy Hashflag reverts back to a common Hashtag, a real clock strikes midnight affair.

Can I get my own Hashflag?

Now that we have made Hashflags sound super exciting, you might be wondering if you can get your own Hashflag? Anyone can apply to Twitter to create their own Hashflag, but you are going to need to have a seriously big marketing budget!

It was reported that Pepsi paid upwards of one million dollars to have their own custom Hashflag available to users during the Superbowl.

Part of the reason that brands are prepared to drop huge amounts of money on something with such a short shelf life is the level of Engagement it creates on the platform. When a Twitter user starts to type in a Hashtag they will see a list of Hashtags that are being used by other Twitter users. The emoji element of the Hashflag helps that brands message stand out in the crowd and gives the brand some personality.

Hashflags are something that are becoming increasingly popular and we are excited to see what other big brands and personalities follow suit now that Peston has given the Hashflag some clout.

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