You’ve seen them in #SocialMediaPosts and wondered what they were. They’re called “hashtags” and are created by using the # number symbol on your keyboard. A hashtag is a label for certain content that helps others find a topic of interest to them. Twitter started the trend of hashtagging topics and soon Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ and You Tube followed.
You can either create your own hashtag or use one that has been created. If you were holding an event and wanted to draw attention to it, you would create a hashtag symbol followed by the name of your event. By using this label in some of your posts, you would draw attention to your event. Of course, you wouldn’t want to overdo it because you’d become a spammer if you posted it a million times!
Hashtags are also beneficial in times of emergency. If you wanted to keep updated on the status of events related to a disaster in your location, you would follow a hashtag that had been established for that incident. #BostonMarathon was a very popular hashtag for those following that tragedy on Twitter. Twitter even shows you trending topics on your home page which are preceded by hashtags in light blue.
Understanding Hashtags and Their Usage
How to Create a Hashtag
Start with the number sign # and follow it with the term you want discovered. There should be no spacing in the hashtag.
Example #AlaskaBoating = Correct # Alaska Boating = incorrect
It’s best to limit your use of hashtags to two in one post and place them at the end of your posts so they don’t interrupt your message. One term could be your location, and the other could be the service or product you provide.
Example: #Dallas #HomeStaging . You could also try #DallasHomeStaging
Do You Want a Unique Hashtag?
Research the site you want to use for your hashtag to see if anyone else is using that hashtag. Just put the hashtag into the search box. There are no copyright laws regulating the use of hashtags, so you could use it to be part of a discussion on that topic. It’s best, though, to create your own unique hashtag if you are trying to promote a service or product of your own.
There are general hashtags that a lot of people use. For example, if you were doing a post on selling real estate and wanted someone looking for posts related to real estate to find it, you could include #RealEstate in your message.
Ensure Your Hashtag Is Easy to Understand and Remember.
Short hashtags are easy to understand and remember. A site like Twitter gives you only 140 characters per tweet so you won’t have much room for a long hashtag or several of them.
Don’t Wildly Use Hashtags.
It’s important that the hashtag you use in your post is relevant to what you are posting. You don’t want someone searching for that hashtag and finding your post unrelated and reporting you as a spammer.
How Hashtags Can Help Your Small Business.
If attending a conference or event, use the hashtag for it on Twitter to see who is there. If you’d like to meet that individual, send him a direct message to connect at a certain location and time.
Search Twitter for popular hashtags such as #FunnyFriday or #FollowFriday to see if there are any people posting on topics related to your industry. Connect with someone to build business relationships. Use these hashtags in your relevant posts to get more exposure. Comment, retweet, or like posts that resonate with you.
Connect with influencers in your industry by using relevant hashtags to find them. Engage with their posts to start building relationships with them.
Use hashtags on your product or service pins on Pinterest to help users find them and to connect with others who like them. See the sample pin below which helps those searching for #upcycledfurniture locate this product.
Use hashtags to find content on social media sites allowing hashtags for your own blog. Use the hashtag for a topic related to your industry to see who is creating or curating articles on it. Read the article and rewrite it using a differnt spin on it.
Understanding hashtags and how to use them effectively for your business can give your brand more exposure. Make up your own hashtags for better exposure or use an exising one that is relevant to your content to get in on certain discussions. Remember if you misuse a hashtag , it will only serve to work against you.
Encore Perception Marketing, located in Jacksonville, Florida, provides affordable, strategic social media marketing and online content writing services worldwide. For more details about our marketing services, visit our website or contact us at 904.553.0366. Like us on Facebook to receive our daily small business marketing e-newspaper.