What used to be known as the pound sign is now the HASHTAG. What is it? An opportunity for businesses to reach their audience like never before. You should be including hashtags in social media marketing strategy for a variety of reasons. Reasons like expanding your reach, building your brand, or promoting your event or sale, and so much more!
Why You Should Use Hashtags in Your Social Media Marketing
Whether your business is B2C or B2B, knowing how to strategically use hashtags in your social media marketing could be a game-changer. Hashtags are just that, a tag using the “hash” sign and a string of letters and/or numbers. Using these tags help tie together social media posts and connect posts to certain topics. When a user clicks on a hashtag, the social media platform will show them all other posts that are also tagged with that hashtag. Check out the image below, when I searched for #phonesystems on LinkedIn, several posts from businesses selling phone systems pop-up.
The hashtag #phonesystems placed a ton of companies posts right in front of my eyes. From this search page I can click on the company and learn more about them. Taking my first step in the customer journey.
Best Use of Hashtags
Before I dive into when to use hashtags, there’s a few items on your checklist that we need to go through. First, it’s important to set goals. Are you trying to build your brand, target certain customers, expand your audience, promote a sale or event, or become a thought leader? Figure out what you want to achieve before you start using hashtags.
Second, after you have your goals figured out, know the limits. Too many hashtags in a post comes across as spam and can severely decrease the interaction rate. It’s important to follow the best practices for the social platform you’re using.
Last on our checklist, research. Researching the hashtag you want to use should become a habit. You don’t want your business associated with something unsavory because of a misuse of a hashtag. Search for the hashtag you want to use in each platform you plan to use it and make sure it aligns with your goals.
How to Find Hashtags
Piggybacking off of researching for PR reasons, let’s take a look at how to find hashtags for you to use in your social media marketing efforts. There’s quite a few great resources that you have and you may not realize. Your competitors (the one’s that have a social media strategy in place) are likely using hashtags to reach their audiences. Get your spy gear out and take notes of which hashtags will work for your business or which ones you want to avoid.
Influencers in your industry are definitely using hashtags to expand their reach. Jotting down any hashtags that they use that are applicable to your business and goals is a good practice. Influencers are already known and trusted in your industry. While you’re there, interact with some of their posts or commenters in a genuine and non-sales-pitch way.
The search bar is a great resource for finding related hashtags that you could also use. Each platform has their own way of displaying related hashtags, and here is how LinkedIn does it. After I typed #telecom into the search bar I get this page. Here, I can either click on the #telecom link or check out the other hashtags that are listed below.
When to Use Hashtags in Social Media Marketing
Now that we have our checklist in place, let’s dive into when to use hashtags in social media marketing. I would like to look at the when’s on a more case-by-case basis, so feel free to scroll to the one that applies to your business.
- Events; are you hosting or attending an industry event? Using an event hashtag broadcasts your posts to others that are also attending or interested in attending the event.
- Building your brand; tagging each of your posts with the same one tag and encouraging your customers to use this tag helps build your brand. Brand hashtags should be something like your company name, or a tagline that people know (or will know) about your business.
- New campaign; having a sale or promotion? Tag each post about it with a unique and simple campaign hashtag.
- Trending; looking to contribute to conversations or get in on a fun trending hashtag? Check Twitter’s trends section for trending hashtags.
- Sharing content; whether it’s your content or someone else’s relevant content, sharing content using hashtags is a great way to engage social media users – and drive traffic to your website.
- Geo-targeting; if you are a local business and want to reach customers in your local are, using geo-targeted hashtags is a great way to get your business known in your city.
Hashtags, when used correctly, can have a big impact. And there are a number of reasons (pun intended) to use hashtags in your social media marketing strategy. Just remember to set your goals, not use more than the max recommended amount, and research before posting.
Now that you know the why and the when, and have your checklist in hand, go on and try it out!
Liked this blog? Check out our additional pieces on social media topics, this this one: Best Times to Post on Social Media!