Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there is a good chance you’ve heard of hashtags and most likely encountered them in some form or fashion on social media—let’s be honest, they are everywhere! But the question is, as a business owner, do you know how to take advantage of hashtags in your social media marketing?

#What

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of hashtag usage, let’s start with a little background information.

What is a Hashtag?

A hashtag consists of a pound (#) sign followed by words or phrases (with no spaces). They are used to tie various social media posts together and relate them to a topic.

The point of using hashtags is to help consumers find relevant and useful information more easily.

Think of it as the internet’s filing system.  When you search for a specific hashtag on a social media platform, it will search through all of its files—aka posts— and create a folder for you to review with every post with that hashtag within its post copy.

 

Hashtag "pizza"

Benefits of Using Hashtags

The Consumer

Hashtags let you add context to a post. They can help connect people who are interested in the same topic or events.

The Business

Hashtags can expand your potential reach, build your brand, target more qualified customers, and much more.

PRO TIP: Remember, it’s not just the hashtag that’s doing the work. The quality of the content and how it resonates with your audience is the most important and should be focused on first. Then add hashtags to help spread the content to audience segments that would be the most interested.

#When

It may seem silly, but like every other aspect of digital marketing, you need to start by defining your goals and build a plan on how you want to utilize them. Ask yourself the following question:

  • What are you trying to achieve with the hashtag?
    • Build Your Brand
    • Promote an Event
    • Announce a Sale
    • Distribute Newly Published Content
    • Interact with Your Customers or the Community

It is also important not to go overboard with using hashtags. Hashtags can be fun, but there is a limit to how many you can use before it becomes a distraction or spammy. Be mindful and meaningful with the hashtags you incorporate, and don’t abuse them. Make sure the tags relate to your business, brand, the products, and services you provide, or the specific post you are writing.

 

Too many hashtags

 

#How

When creating your own hashtags, keep them short and sweet. For example, if you are making a hashtag for an event or something with a long title, consider using an abbreviation or acronym to shorten it. The hashtag should be easy to spell and easy to remember.

PRO TIP: DO YOUR RESEARCH! Search for the hashtag you intend to use BEFORE you use it. You don’t know what people may be using that hashtag for unless you research it, and you definitely don’t want to risk connecting your business to a controversial topic due to using a hashtag.

#Why

As important as it is to learn how and when to use hashtags, it is also essential to understand why you use them. It all boils down to helping your audience and guiding them to content they will find useful. A successful hashtag will deliver what the consumer is looking for, promote an event or call-to-action that is of value to the end-user.

It must benefit the consumer before it benefits your business.

In the end, just remember a hashtag is more effective if it is short, precise, easy to spell, easy to remember, and gives the reader a clear idea about what content will be delivered.

 

Looking for help developing a social media and hashtag strategy to promote your local business? Contact one of our Digital Marketing Experts today!