We no longer think of the pound sign (#) to mark numbers. The number sign has been renamed a hashtag. Hashtags have come a long way since they were first introduced in 2007 by a Twitter employee who suggested them as a way to link related tweets. Since then, the use of hashtags has exploded. They connect specific ideas, subjects, happenings, or discussions on various social media platforms. Their popularity has increased in reach and effectiveness on Twitter and other social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, TikTok, and Pinterest.
If you are using social media to market your business or brand, you may want to incorporate hashtags to reach and engage more people. Just add a hashtag to any word or phrase, no spaces, punctuation, or symbols, and you can connect with any number of people. For example, you could promote products or services with hashtags on your social media to attract people looking for those products and services. For example, a landscaper might add #TreeRemoval to its social media posts for individuals looking for that service. That may increase your involvement with your followers and help your target audience find you.
Hashtags can do a lot for your business. When you include hashtags in your posts, you engage in conversations that make your post visible to others. This can increase your visibility through likes, shares, and comments. Hashtags can be used to keep up with trends, breaking news, or raise awareness. The hashtag #DrunkDrivers, intended to call out those who drink and drive, could connect a business as being supportive of curbing drunk driving. Including hashtag causes within your social media post can help include you in the social media account of like-minded others and increase your visibility. But, be mindful of what your hashtag may mean.
You should have a good social media strategy that includes popular, relevant, and branded hashtags. Using popular hashtags can connect your business to other social media conversations, but because they are popular, they may not be the best for you. Look for popular hashtags that will add meaning to your posts and engage your followers. When you highlight a new idea or product, you might include a related photo and the hashtag #photooftheday to connect to over seven million hits on Instagram.
Of course, the popular hashtags on Instagram or Twitter may not be the same on other social media platforms. Your LinkedIn account might include #investing or #personaldevelopment for your posts. Using popular hashtags can be a fun way for your business to engage in a larger social media discussion. You can use #throwbackthursday, #flashbackfriday, or google other daily hashtags to fit in with your company’s interests.
Another way to increase your social media reach is to create a branded hashtag. Designing a branded hashtag is as easy as using your company name or your tagline in the hashtag. Consider the hashtags #ShareACoke or #TweetFromTheSeat by Charmin as examples.
You will need to do some research to discover the specific hashtags for you. You should start by checking out your competition’s social media or the influencers related to your brand or business. Learn which and how many hashtags they use. You can use an online service, like RiteTag, for suggestions for the perfect hashtag, or you can find a social media listening tool to see which hashtags are most effective. A listening tool is software that monitors and analyzes online conversations relevant to your company.
You may consider finding related hashtags if you are already using effective hashtags. All popular social media platforms have ways to search for relative hashtags that could be more specific and help you connect with a more targeted audience. Remember to keep track of the hashtags you have used in past posts. When you notice they contain some of the same hashtags, their popularity would suggest using them in future posts.
Finally, there are some points to remember when using hashtags. Make sure your accounts are public so that non-followers will see them. Be sure your hashtags are not too obscure, or they will be hard to find and unlikely to be used by others. Remember that the best hashtags are relatively short and easy to remember, so don’t string too many words together. You should also limit the number of hashtags you use in your posts. Too many can seem spammy, so less is more.
Hashtags may be challenging to use at first, but you can begin by using these tips. If you already use hashtags, you can expand your use by incorporating new ones. You will see the benefits as you become more proficient at including hashtags as a marketing tool.