The humble hashtag was a grassroots invention in 2007, an idea hatched among Twitter users as a way of categorizing and sharing tweets. Since then it has gone viral and is widely used across numerous social media channels as well as establishing a presence in popular culture, turning up in advertisements and on television screens.
In the United States, programs like the political drama Scandal have hashtags where cast members tweet during and after the broadcast. TV ads feature hashtags to entice viewers to get online and talk about products.
Marketers have cottoned onto the idea that hashtags can create a big buzz about what their company is doing. For example, in Australia the active wear label for women Lorna Jane uses the hashtag #movenourishbelieve on Instagram to get conversations going about active and healthy living. This is helping to build a loyal band of followers and customers.
As a small business owner with a social media presence you cannot afford to ignore hashtags. Designated by the sign (#) and paired with a word or phrase, they can be used to target your market, expand your reach, get your content found, improve your SEO and much more.
Consider investing in hashtags for your social media strategies with the following tips:
Create memorable hashtags – creating a memorable hashtag can be a sure-fire way of getting your brand noticed and talked about. You may want a brand hashtag that incorporates your company name or tagline, is unique to your business and defines what you do. For example, if you are a retailer of discount sports equipment you could use #discountsports.
Consider separate campaign hashtags for your different marketing drives such as a product launch or a forthcoming sale in your store. The hashtags you create need to be a snappy, memorable and direct, so avoid something along the lines of #wevegotthecheapestsportsequipment. Long and complicated hashtags are a big turnoff and are not very search engine friendly either.
Join conversations that you can add value to – you can boost your reputation and enhance your visibility without creating your own hashtag. Simply offer your knowledge and advice to an existing hashtag created around topics related to your industry. Your participation can increase your visibility and standing within your field and drive new audiences to you.
Use hashtags in your offline marketing endeavours – you can promote your hashtags by incorporating them in your offline marketing material such as newspaper and magazine adverts and TV commercials. Also share them on your other social media channels. And get creative!
In Brazil, car company Volkswagen hid free tickets to the Planeta Terra music festival all over the country. The only way to find them was to tweet #foxatplanetaterra to get access to a Google map that revealed the location of the tickets.
Add hashtags to your content posts – when you share content on Twitter, add hashtags to your tweets to make them searchable by others.
Here’s how you can do it. Let’s imagine you have just written a message promoting football boots. You could use the Twitter search to find tweets all about football boots. You may see other users that you recognize as industry leaders in which case visit their profiles to see which hashtags they commonly use.
If there’s an active one that relates to your tweet click on it to see what people are saying and whether they seem like the kind of audience you want to attract. If so, add that hashtag to your tweet and when users refresh their results page your tweet will be at the top or very near it.
Use trending hashtags – you may well have heard people say “what’s trending now?” They usually refer to the most popular hashtags that are being talked about in that moment. Keep an eye on these, and when you see one that relates to your business use the tag in your content update. This could potentially open you up to a massive audience that’s currently glued to that topic.
Be mindful, only use a trending tag if it is relevant and you can actually add something to what people are already reading. Spammy use of hashtags, meaning posting to a popular trend just because it’s getting lots of eyeballs is a big social media no-no that could damage your online reputation.
Adding Twitter hashtags to your social media strategies can open you up to a wider audience that brings in more followers. Nurture these relationships to ultimately bring in more sales.
From MavSocial | Social Media Marketing Software for Business