How The Simple Hashtag Can Help Grow Your Business.

As small business owners, niche site marketers, SEO experts etc., we all seek more traffic to our various online platforms.

The SEO landscape has changed so much that many are scared to even whisper the word “backlinks”. The talk, today, is all about excellent content creation. I totally agree with that, but what happens when you have created this epic post / podcast? How do you share it with the world?

The use of social media is one way. From Twitter to Facebook to Google Plus, your message can be shared with many potential customers and collaborators. The question is, how do you deliver it targeted groups? The number sign or octhorpe or pound sign (for Non-Brits), #, can help you spread the word.

Hash tags have been around for ages. They were used in C programming to denote special keywords that had to be processed first. Their use inspired Chris Messina to use them to organizing topics of interest on Twitter. He suggested the use in the early days of Twitter and it was quickly adopted.

Its use allows a rudimentary form of categorization of information.

This makes it easier to access content of a similar nature. In social media, the hash tag is basically a way of grouping, organising and categorizing words, actions, expressions, topics of interest and generally giving context to words. This very broad application can lead to hash tags being used and misused.

From its’ use in politics to promoting the newest gaming console or dance craze, the hash tag has experienced plenty of use on Twitter, Instagram and Vine. Hashtags helped to coordinate numerous events all over the world. By linking all hashtags in tweets to search results for the hashtagged word, Twitter created a Trending topics section on its home page. This allowed people all over the world to keep abreast of breaking news.

While you may not (never) get on Twitters’ Trending topics page, you can still use hashtags to share your content . With the adoption of hashtags by Facebook and Google Plus, small businesses too can tap into the viral nature of using the hashtag. For Google Plus users, it is a welcome addition, as unlike on Twitter, where you have only 160 characters, you can create and use the hashtag to tag much longer posts.

Being part of communities on Google+, allows you to interact and network with people whom you share common interests.

The use of relevant hashtags on your posts can greatly increase their exposure. This is because, a correctly tagged post will be returned whenever people search for that phrase.

Also, in Google+, when you click on a hashtag, it shows all posts that have been tagged with the same hashtags. This gives a visitor a wider range of content to use. They also allow better information search. If you look up the name of a Google+ author and add a hashtag, you will get only posts by that author that were tagged with that exact hashtag. If you had used only their name, you would get results with all their posts in it.

Tips for hash tag usage:

1. Add relevant hashtags to every post you make.
2. Use between one and five targeted and related terms as hashtags; you can add more so that you can reach a wider audience.
3. Make sure the tags describe the post, and of the demography you want to reach.

People searching for that hashtag, will come across your post and read your content, thus potentially earning you a new subscriber or customer.

While I promise not to judge you, but if you create a post and simply tag it #bestblogger, #bestblogger, #bestblogger, #bestblogger, #bestblogger, #bestblogger, #bestblogger, #bestblogger, #bestblogger, #bestblogger; I can bet you that you will get kicked out of any Google Plus Circle that you are part of. Use the hashtag to get exposure and not to spam the internet.

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