#WHAT #WHEN #WHERE #WHY AND #HOW to use Hashtags for Business
Hashtags are increasingly becoming popular not only as a way to catergorise pictures and topics on popular social networks such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook but is becoming a way for consumers to search for products and services within these applications and the internet.
#WHAT is a Hashtag?
A Hashtag is the ‘hash’ or ‘pound’ symbol which I personally still use to represent a number. I believe Urban Dictionary contributors define it best.
My favourite is #3. That’s number 3. The third definition down the page.
Think of Hashtags as SEO for your Social Network Platforms – click to tweet
#HOW to use a Hashtag
Hashtags are words or phrases (without spaces) that begin with a # and do not include any punctuation marks (! or ?) or symbols (* or % or ^@&**!)
Example: #prideandprominence, if you click on that link you’ll be taken to a Google search result page. If you click on a hashtag that you see within Instagram, Facebook or Twitter (and increasingly Pinterest) you’ll be taken to a list of search results for that particular hashtagged word or phrase within that application.
So how do you use it for business purposes?
Well, if you are uploading pictures of products you might consider hashtagging the brand name #toyota or to be more specific #toyotacorolla.
If your business is a restaurant or cafe you could use the #restaurantaustralia hashtag when showcasing your deliciously unique dishes or restaurant view. The hashtag is searched throughout the day by the savvy online marketing team @Australia which has over 1.4 million followers! Imagine sharing your business with that many people from a single picture using a tiny little easy symbol – the #.
Do you sell homewares? Use #homewares. Or do like our gorgeous friends over at Fossick Handmade do on their Instagram, one hashtag for the shop, one for the designer, one for #handmadeaustralia and others for location or the description of the product.
#WHEN to use Hashtags
I am a firm believer that you should use (when relevant) as many hashtags as deemed appropriate. Most social networking platforms have guides on the use of hashtags (here is Twitter’s) That covers #WHERE too.
Use hashtags on certain days, I like to use #techtuesday when referring to new technology or ways to use technology to enhance business performance. Use #FF (Follow Friday) when giving a shout out to your new followers.
Search your own hashtags too! If users are referring to you in their tweets, posts and grams then retweet, share the post, regram the pic and say thanks! Don’t forget to credit the original user.
Maybe that heading should be #WhenNotToUseHashtags
- In actual conversation
- In a letter to your grandmother
- To join in on a popular trend. If your post has nothing to do with the #Oscars then don’t use it. Followers will view your post as spam.
- Same goes for hot news items. Unless you are a eye witness, reporter or news agency don’t use #nepal or #MH17. The fact that you could profit off a tragedy is poor form!
- When they are too obscure. It’s fun to think up new hashtags phrases but unless you can guarantee it’s going to catch on or be searched by users then don’t bother. Example: Seedy 8 Nightclub – #CD8NytClb. Honestly, how is anyone going to know how to search for you and can they be bothered trying to type that convoluted creation into their keyboard?
#WHY use Hashtags
In summary, the use of hashtags when posting content about your business’s services or products can be extremely useful in exposing your business and what you offer to the online world.
Please do remember to perform a search for your preferred hashtag before sharing it with your followers. Just like when you search for keywords consider misspelt words, conotations and who is already using it. If your preferred word or phrase returns a search with over 100,000 contributions do you think followers will be able to find you amongst that result? Can you find your users mentions of your hashtag either if that’s the case?
A free tool like Hashtagify.me will let you know who is already using a hashtag so you can either avoid using it too or OWN IT, engage with users and profit from your new found hashtag knowledge!
Relevant hashtag words and phrases for your business are a part of your Pride and Prominence Marketing Plan as well as:
- A Social Media Policy
- A 6 month Content Calendar
- Training for in-house Social Media Marketers
- And a Social Network of your choice, administration set-up, branding and scheduled posts
Call or email me today if you are interested in taking your business’s online presence to the next level!