The use of hashtags on social media platforms make it seem like it has been around for ages. However, it only started in 2007, but then, it caught on almost overnight. Today, most brands, businesses, and individuals have embraced the hashtag and its many uses.
People use hashtags on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ to reach out to thousands of people easily and quickly. They are an easy and convenient way to categorise social media content into specific groups. You are able to find other users with the same interests by posting specific hashtag criteria. For example, if you recently purchased a salt water aquarium set up and you want pointers, you can post #saltwateraquarium on social media. This will group you with people who have hash-tagged similar items.
Simple Tips for Using Hashtags
Here are some simple yet effective tips for getting the most from your hashtags:
- Be specific when using hashtags to get your point across. You don't necessarily want broad categories. Your goal is to target specific groups of people who would be interested in your products or topic. For example, if your business sells puppy toys, instead of using #pets and getting pet owners with every type of pet, use #newpuppy or #puppytoys. This will narrow your search down to new puppy owners and people looking for puppy toys. This is your targeted audience.
- For new hashtags, pick something no one else has branded. You don't want your particular brand name in your hashtag either. You want whatever your company stands for to be showcased by the hashtag so your customer base has something to connect with.
- Don't go overboard, especially for business posts. Ideally, you shouldn't use more than five hashtags on a single post. This practice can attract the wrong type of followers and it can make your business seem desperate. Keep your hashtags under five per post if possible, and keep them short and to the point.
How to Use Hashtags to Market Your Business
Since hashtags are universally recognised and social media is popular, it is critical your business adopts this process and uses it to your advantage. You should create a short and to the point hashtag to allow people to see who you are as a company and what you stand for, as well.
- Event Promotion: Companies are also using hashtags to market or promote contests and client-generated content. For example, Lays chip company has their annual "Do Us a Flavor" contest. They encourage social media users to pitch the company their best flavour combinations. Each of these contest submissions appears on social media sites and on the Lays website with the #DoUsAFlavor brand hashtag.
- Consumer Engagement: Another great example is Destination British Columbia with their #exploreBC brand content hashtag. They invite people to post photographs they've taken in and around British Columbia and upload it to social media with the #exploreBC hashtag. This gives the users a chance to show off their photography skills and the company gets gorgeous photographs they can utilise on social media sites to showcase their company.
The hashtag is just as popular today as it was when it exploded seemingly overnight just 10 years ago. Businesses and brands have been adopting it to allow them to reach a broad scope of people. The hashtag works and there are many business examples to prove that. If your business hasn't embraced the hashtag yet, it is a good idea to look into it.
If you do it correctly, you can open your business up to an entirely new client base. The hashtag is a simple, yet powerfully effective way to get people to notice your business, service or product.