Hashtags first hit popularity in social media marketing on Twitter, with other networks such as Tumblr following suit. With the rising popularity of using a hashtag, every savvy social media marketer knows they have to work them into the marketing plan, but the trick is using them correctly.What is a hashtag?
Simply put, a hashtag is the “#” symbol and will be followed by the keyword you are using, in order to make the post relevant and searchable. It can be a single word or a small string of words, such as #fishing or #letsgofishing. The most common use of a hashtag is to categorize content and enable those using them to hold public conversations or monitor them. When you have a tweet, post or status update that has a hashtag they will be grouped together and when you search for a particular hashtag, it will come up with everything in that category.Try it for yourself, do a search.
If you are curious to see exactly for yourself just what it looks like when you use a hashtag, open up your favourite social media platform like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or Instagram and use their search feature.
Once you search a hashtag you will see all public global-wide conversations that involve that hashtag. You can start with broad terms like #fishing and then narrow it down to something that may be more niche, or instead of the suggestion here try something that fits your business.
Why should you use hashtag marketing?
The biggest singular reason to use a hashtag in your social media marketing is discovery. You can search a hashtag yourself to find potential clients and prospects and moreover, you and your company can be discovered. Hashtags also allow you to gain valuable insight from your community. If you have an event coming up, your attendees can join in on the conversation before, during, and after while you monitor and follow along. Hashtags will also allow you to find content that can be valuable to you. If you want to network or learn something that will add to your field and make the product you offer that much more valuable, you can do so with hashtags. While this is just the tip of it, let’s take a closer look at ways you can start using hashtags in your content.
How to use hashtags successfully:
Before using it, perform a search for the hashtag you’re thinking about.
This allows you to check and see if the hashtag is already being used and what the conversation is all about. This step is important if you want to use a more niche hashtag. If there is a negative conversation happening around the hashtag, you will want to alter yours so that you do not get involved with the negative aspect.
Make sure that you limit the amount of hashtags you use in your content.
If you use too many in one piece of content it can look as though you are spamming. One or two hashtags with the occasional use of three is the expected amount depending on what you are saying with your content. You also want your hashtags to fit within the context of what you’re writing, so make sure you check everything for flow and that it makes sense where it is being used.
While hashtags do not work on most blogs, a lot of people will still search for hashtags on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
So the question then becomes, how do you get all the blog content you have (which is valuable) to join in the hashtag conversations? Using tags will help with that problem. If you are working on a blog post covering a topic that includes hashtags, use that hashtag when you post the blog.
Broad topic hashtags are the best to use for general discovery of your brand.
However, if you are having an event, it is best to have a specific hashtag for that event. Keeping it specific for events helps you monitor the conversation better and for users and new customers to find the event without the hassle.
Run a contest using a hashtag.
Contests are a great way to bring new people into your brand, and using a hashtag allows you to be creative. If you want to have, for example, a photo contest using something from your brand, you can have everyone post their photo using the same hashtag. The contest is one way you can really get creative with hashtags. It is fun for users and will get positive content out there with your brand hashtag.
As you can see, there is a plethora of ways you can use hashtags to help your social media marketing campaign. These are just the basic tips for using hashtags and you can always be creative and find more advanced ways to make them work for you.
For information on how to best utilize your social media platforms, including the incorporation of hashtags, download our free social media checklist by clicking the link below: