Hashtags (#s) aren’t just trendy symbols for drawing attention to your online content – though, in truth they can do that when used correctly. The hashtag is essentially an organisational tool. When used strategically, hashtags can help more people find your profiles and content. They can help you promote, search and unite conversations across the internet, and can attract new followers to your accounts. What’s more hashtags are the key to SEO and the visibility of content, and can be an essential component in building brand awareness across platforms. Therefore, it’s therefore no exaggeration to say that this humble symbol has a pivotal role to play in online marketing.
Having built then up in such a big way, it’s understandable that some people should feel intimidated by hashtags. But there’s no need for such fear. Dealing with hashtags is easy enough, so long as you understand this simple fact: less is usually more. If you go overboard with hashtags you’ll soon come unstuck. Keep it simple and you will be far more likely to succeed. If you’re not convinced then consider this statistic: according to research, tweets with a single hashtag tend to get 21 percent more engagement than those with three or more.
6 ways of making the most of your hashtags
How do you get the most out of hashtags? How can you make them work most effectively for your business?
Use hashtags to start or continue conversations
With just a solitary hashtag, you can start an online discussion, and prompt other different voices across social media to join in. Once you’ve started a conversation, the hashtag can also keep it going. The beauty of this is that this steady stream of social media content will also be reflected on the search results and will help those who are watching, but not participating, to follow the conversation. Why is this important? Well, for every person you interact with directly, there are probably hundreds of other potential customers watching the conversation looking for insight.
Use hashtags to cross-promote across all social networks
Hashtags are no longer the sole preserve of Twitter. Many social media platforms now use them, so you might as well use that to your advantage. Using just one simple hashtag that represents your brand, products or services, you can aggregate posts and cross-promote your content on numerous social networks. You may find that your followers will begin to adopt it as well. The other advantage of doing this you may actually start to see growth on those platforms you don’t engage with regularly. According to Hootsuite, the use of a single hashtag on Instagram can boost your engagement levels by an average of 12.6 percent.
Use hashtags to engage with and involve your followers
The best way to engage with your followers is to use hashtags that encourage users to upload photos for the chance to be featured on your brand’s profile or homepage. By getting your followers and fans involved like this, and submitting content themselves, it will make them feel as though they are part of your brand.
Ask for Feedback – (but be cautious)
Social media is a great place to get direct feedback from your customers, but it also useful for getting an idea how your followers might feel about any new proposed products or services. However, be careful and cautious when doing this, as many brands have come unstuck before. They may have thought their hashtag was powerful, but bad publicity and internet trolling have occasionally ruined product launches and undermined brands. The one thing you don’t want is for customers to associate criticism with your brand.
If you run a business with a local audience base, hashtag your city or town name to attract local customers. This narrows down your audience targeting from global to local, and gives you the best chance of attracting the people who are most likely to make a purchase.
Stick with the trend, but make sure it’s relevant to who you are and what you do
When all else fails, check out trending lists to see what people are talking about, and determine whether you can use that popularity to steer some traffic your way. However, as most of the trending items are topical, it’s important to ensure your content remains authentic when using trending hashtags. Followers won’t take kindly to brands that jump on trending topics that have little or no relevance to its products and services. Also it’s worth remembering that trends tend to go as quickly as they come.