Punch Communications Predicts Next Real-Time Social Media Trend

Oct 20, 2010, 11:41 ET from Punch Communications Ltd.

LONDON, Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Real-time engagement activity in Twitter will intensify over the coming year, according to PR, search and social media agency, Punch Communications, as the promotion of hashtags, particularly through television, is set to increase.

Many big brands now have social media strategies, which include methods for acquiring new followers, engaging posts comprising of questions and announcements as well as ways to respond to both positive and negative communication comments from the public. However, the use of hashtags in Twitter is currently under-employed by most and a focus on real-time engagement is not a priority, not least because full-time staffing of the account during particular periods is required. Nevertheless, as soon as the first well known brand capitalises on the potential, the promotion of hashtags could be the next big trend in the world of social media.

This method of online PR is just starting to be implemented in the promotion of television shows. The BBC has recently started to display an appropriate hashtag at the beginning some programmes as a way of encouraging real-time dialogue, whilst the show is live. A similar success has been seen for the last series of Big Brother UK and the follow-on, Ultimate Big Brother. Although the show didn't advertise its specific tags, it led by example and ensured all its Tweets included #BB11 and then #UBB, which in turn encouraged many of its 110,000 followers to do the same. The opportunities for awareness and engagement through hashtags don't just lie within television. Any type of real-time activity, for example a conference, a product launch, radio exposure, a short term competition or campaign could especially benefit from the promotion of a hashtag.

When either a phrase or word, hashtagged or not, is one of the most Tweeted about topics at the present time, it appears on the right of the screen in a 'trending' list, which can be set for a specific country's or worldwide trends. This often encourages users who are browsing to view the feed because they are curious to know why so many people find the topic to be so interesting, attention-grabbing or newsworthy -- if a brand's hashtag trends, the benefits of that visibility, acquisition of followers and subsequent engagement are huge. Tweeters frequently find new people to follow this way and also search for hashtagged topics specifically to find others with similar interests.

Keredy Stott, Senior Account Manager at Punch Communications, said: "The potential of hashtags is just beginning to be seen through television because they work especially well with real-time activities, such as programmes, but their use and promotion by brands is yet to get started. Brands using a bit of creativity can capitalise on the hashtag feature to help them acquire new followers and also gain widespread awareness. When thousands of Tweeters use a particular hashtag in posts, it is not only visible to every one of their followers but it can so easily become a trending topic, which can result in a colossal wave of new fans. Hashtags could be the next big social media trend before too long."

To find more information about Punch and its current PR, search and social media jobs visit punchcomms.com.  

Contact:  Philip Keightley of Punch Communications Ltd., +01-85-84-11600

SOURCE Punch Communications Ltd.