In 2007, a marketing specialist walked into Twitter with an idea that would change our social media methods forever. The concept suggested using the octothorpe (that’s the pound or number sign) as a method to pull together tags or keywords into similar categories. It was a method of adding interest and helped to populate the new and upcoming social platform.
Word started to spread and by the end of the decade, hashtags were appearing on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. (By 2014, the word “hashtag” was listed in the Oxford Dictionary.) Since then the use has grown exponentially into popularity and is a great tool in marketing.
Now here’s the thing, most of you are familiar with their use, so I won’t bore you with the basics, but I’ll show you how they’ll benefit that business you’re growing.
USE THEM EFFECTIVELY
Some social media platforms limit your use of characters, requiring you to get your comment or idea out succinctly. (You’ve probably heard the saying, “less is more”?) Through the use of that little symbol, you’re going to extend your reach far beyond your followers to others online with shared interests and topics.
DO’S AND DON’TS
The first rule of hashtags is to use them correctly. If you don’t know, you won’t be reaching anyone, so check out this site: https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/twitter/what-is-a- hashtag/1/
The second rule is do your research. You’ll find several online resources to give you the more popular words or you can dig deeper for the proven statistics on words used most effectively. There will be some words you’ll want to frequent for your brand image, but don’t overuse your industry words. You’ll cast a wider net if you vary your keywords beyond just your business. For example, if you are a small restaurant owner, move beyond the menu items and location to include words like #datenight, #mytreat, or #yeahfork.
Pictures are great with hashtags, as long as you use high quality images. Utilize upcoming events, find a yearly calendar listing New Year’s Day to “love your dog day” to “second to the last day of the year”. Create a good online impression, be responsive to comments or questions and if you’re feeling really bold, create your own hashtag! Some large corporations are now easily identified by a hashtag they created.
After you’ve put in all this work, you aren't going to know how you’re doing if you don’t track your stats. Keep track on a monthly (minimum) of what’s drawing your audience in and what isn't. Then try the process again with new hashtags while retaining your standard words. Be consistent with your posts...you’ll be surprised at the results!
You’ve Got This!