When it comes to social media, the #hashtag is one of the most powerful – and most misunderstood – tools in the industry.
At this stage in the social media game, many people still don’t know how to harness and utilize the hashtag – especially for business.
You’ve heard of the hashtag and you’ve heard it’s revolutionary. So how can *you* use the hashtag to attract and acquire customers?
Step One: Understand the Hashtag
A #hashtag can instantly link a social media post to a group of other posts about the same topic.
Example: My #Recipes are to die for! Click the link to open my #recipe book: http://bit.ly/00001
The hashtags #Recipes and #Recipe will instantly link your post about your recipe book to hundreds of thousands of other posts about recipes.
Using hashtags also allows you to update your ecosystem (group of likeminded followers and potential followers) on a given topic in real time.
Other Examples: #EuroCup2016 #MNF #GlutenFree
Step Two: Understand the Growth
Hashtags originated on Twitter, but they are now becoming popular on other social networks as well. While used less than on Twitter, Facebook users are now incorporating hashtags and Facebook is 100% hashtag friendly. You can also use hashtags on social media networks like Instagram, Pinterest and Google Plus.
The spread of the hashtag to other social networking sites is a classic market test success story. Hashtags have been proven to be extremely helpful in archiving topics of interest on sites where millions of users are talking about millions of things.
Because the hashtag has been such a successful time-saving funnel for people that want to learn and read about specific topics, the hashtag has branched out and will inevitably continue to do so in the next several years.
Step Three: Understand You Can Use it for Your Brand
A tag that your brand creates that both fits your brand and has a specific marketing purpose can help drive brand recognition, track analytics, boost the reach of an advertising campaign, and positively impact customer loyalty.
How do I use the hashtag for my business?
- Use the hashtag symbol (#) before a relevant keyword or phrase to help categorize your posts and help them easily show up in a search.
- You can place your hashtag anywhere in your tweet – beginning, middle or end.
- Remember—if your account is protected or private, your tweets, for example, will not show up with its hashtag in a public search. Keep this in mind if you are trying to reach potential customers outside your follower network!
- Don’t spam or over-tag a tweet. You will instantly look like an amateur (and a spammer!) if you insert too many hashtags. The only place where I’ve seen businesses able to get away with a few too many hashtags is Instagram. Twitter officially recommends no more than two hashtags per tweet.
Example of a hashtag-friendly tweet:
Awesome #HappyHour at #McGeesPub this evening! Let’s do it again next week!
- Hashtags do apply offline. Feel free to place your hashtag on advertising materials or flyers to track brand loyalty from offline, online.
- Always choose a hashtag that is easy to remember – and clear. Don’t get too kitschy or creative. Make sure it’s memorable and short enough to fit within a 140-character tweet by a fan.
Want to learn more about Social Media for Small Business? Pre-register now for a discounted rate for our January 2016 SM for #SmallBiz Webinars!