Have you made social media hashtags a part of your marketing strategy yet?
You may have already come up with a hashtag for your business or product. You think “that’s good enough” and go with it. You use it in a few posts, and that’s it, right?
Hashtags aren’t a laissez-faire type of thing. And they aren’t just a trend that needs to be adopted. They’re a means of communicating and expanding your business on social media. The topic of social media hashtags deserves more attention from marketers, which is why we wrote this post.
Consider this to be your ultimate guide to using social media hashtags for business.
This comprehensive guide is written for people of all experience levels, from hashtag novices to experienced hashtag users. There should be some useful information here for everyone.
Here’s what we’re going to cover in the guide:
- What are hashtags?
- How do social media hashtags work?
- Different marketing strategies involving hashtags
- The different types of hashtags
- How to create your hashtag
- Tips for using hashtags
- How to find good hashtags for your business
What Are Hashtags?
If you’re reading this guide, then you might be wondering “what exactly are hashtags?”A “hashtag” once represented a simple pound sign or hash mark, then came along social media and it made this mundane mark its own.
A hashtag on social media is a keyword or phrase preceded by the hash symbol (#). A hashtag is spelled out without spaces.
People search hashtags on their favorite social media websites to discover more of what they’re interested in.
What Was The First Hashtag?
Twitter was the first major social media site that used hashtags and where hashtags are most widely used today.
Here’s the first ever Twitter hashtag in all its glory:Now, whatever social media website you go on, hashtag usage is common.
But this is hardly a reassuring fact if you aren’t familiar with hashtags. In fact, you might be weirded out by how common they’ve become.
At one point you might’ve decided just to avoid them like the plague.
After all, as far as you’re concerned, hashtags and the people who use them are from another world. A world that’s optional to be a part of.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’re trying to market your business on social media, then social media hashtags simply can’t be ignored.
After you finish reading this post, you’ll understand their importance. And then you’ll want to master using them.
How Do Social Media Hashtags Work?
First of all, you have to understand the usefulness of hashtags. They aren’t just a cool trend. There are many practical uses for social media users.
Hashtags are used to group together posts about a particular topic.
For example, any post that includes the hashtag #sportsapparel will appear in social media search results for the search term #sportsapparel. This helps the searcher find and participate in discussions about sports apparel.
Hashtags also have many practical uses for your marketing.
- You can categorize your social media posts based on topic, purpose, or marketing campaign.
- You can create your own branded hashtag to help you monitor your visibility on social media. This way you’ll be able to see how many people are posting with your hashtag.
- You can raise awareness of your business and get more customers!
A perfect example of a branded hashtag in action is #givesyouwings.
The company REDBULL raised massive awareness of their brand on social media by using the hashtag #givesyouwings. Cool and memorable isn’t it? Doesn’t everyone wish they had wings and could fly?
Of course they do.
REDBULL capitalized on this and now #givesyouwings is synonymous with the energy drink Red Bull. Whenever someone clicks that hashtag, they’ll be bombarded with posts about the energy drink.
Finally, think about this: there are thousands of images posted every minute on social media. Therefore, your post isn’t likely to be seen by anyone except your followers.
This is where social media hashtags come into play.
And the best part is: it’s all free! There’s no cost to using hashtags, except for the time it takes to learn the trends and to learn how hashtags work on each different platform.
With the strategies below, you can gain access to potentially thousands of people outside your current social following.
6 Strategies For Using Social Media Hashtags
#1 Boost Your Social Media Outreach
- Organic reach: hashtags are searchable on social media. So, using them in your posts makes your business more discoverable. Here’s a bonus benefit of using hashtags for organic search: some sites like Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram let profile page biographies show up in hashtag searches!
- Linking opportunities: hashtags are similar to hyperlinks on most websites: they’re clickable and take the user to another page. When someone clicks on a hashtag , they’re taken to a sort of “newsfeed” page for that specific hashtag. For example, check out the destination page for the hashtag #barcamp.
There you can see all the latest posts using the hashtag #barcamp, with the most recent posts at the top of the page.Think about the opportunities this presents. You could get free exposure when someone clicks a hashtag on someone else’s post.
How cool is that?
When someone clicks onto that hashtag, they might see your post on the hashtag’s page if you used that same hashtag in your post!
- Reach Your Target Audience: you’ll want to keep lists of hashtags for each of the following hashtag categories: popular hashtags in your industry, content related hashtags, and popular hashtags your target audience uses.
#2 Find and Join Conversations on Social Media
One way to take advantage of hashtags is to search the trending ones and join in on conversations people are having.Think of hashtags as social gatherings. It’s your chance to shine, to show off your personality, and to gain name recognition.
But like any kind of social gathering, you need to know the do’s and don’ts and the social norms ahead of time.
So you’ll have to research the trending hashtag before jumping in.
Make things easier for yourself and choose the right hashtags from the get-go. Start by searching for hashtags you think would be a good fit for your business.
You can also find hashtag ideas by researching your competitors on social media. In fact you can even find your competitors by searching popular hashtags in your niche!
#3 Social Listening/Research/Product Development
Another one of the benefits of social media hashtags for business owners is that you can read conversations your target audience is having. This is otherwise known associal listening. Use this tactic to figure out their pain points. You can then create specific content, solutions or products to address their pain points/needs.
#4 Create Your Own Branded Hashtag
As we mentioned earlier, creating your own branded hashtag with your business and/or product name can help you monitor your visibility on social media.
But that’s not all that branded hashtags can do.
Your branded hashtag will also allow you to:
- Reinforce your branding.
- Track the success of your various different marketing campaigns – track your “reach” and “brand awareness” campaigns separately.
- Keep track of user generated content – this is basically free content that you can repost in the future.
#5 Drive Event Engagement
Whether your event is offline or online, event hashtags work great for driving engagement. Here’s how:
- Every event attendee can use the same event hashtag. They can use it in their own post, or they can search the hashtag and find posts others have created already. The hashtag enables everyone at the event to participate in discussions and create new discussions centered on the event.
- You can take advantage of your event hashtag by creating questions and polls. Not only do these help drive more engagement, but you’ll also gain a lot of valuable insights that you can use for your marketing.