Gone are the days where the # sign was just something on a telephone. As social media has grown, hashtags have been a huge part of the evolution. Now we see it everywhere online. While people may like to hashtag phrases or thoughts and string them together at the end of a post, they are meant to do so much more.
Hashtags are a surefire way to search for topics (much like using quotes when using a search engine), find stories or photos of a particular product, invite others to be a part of one conversation—or better yet, have others find your posts.
Knowing how to use hashtags can really help grow your social media presence. We are sharing 3 ideas to use them to get in front of more people.
1. Join the Conversation
Don't think that you have to strictly create your own hashtag. Jump on the bandwagon and join in conversations with others by searching tags that are relevant to you and your business. Be sure to use these particular hashtags in your posts, especially on platforms like Twitter or Instagram. If you are a local BBQ store, for example, you might want to use hashtags that reference food (#pulledpork #BBQ #smokedmeat), your area (#Bristol #BucksCounty #LowerBucks) and also something that is already being used by other audiences you are trying to reach (#PhillyFoodie #MyBristolBorough). Also, be sure to tag relevant companies in your post and geo-target by “checking in” to a specific location—even if it's your own. Just be careful not to overuse tags.
2. Search the tag
In an acronym-heavy world, you can find that the acronym you use for your business could be another person's abbreviation for a local school. Make sure that nobody else has laid the groundwork on your tag, otherwise searchers will be finding their posts intertwined with yours. Also, you can find that a hashtag you thought was unique to you has content that could be negative. So do your research!
When you doing your due diligence, be sure you are using tags that are relevant to you. If you are using the hashtag #yum #icecream #frozentreat for a local ice cream shop, many of the audience you are reaching can be anywhere in the world. You can find this by simply searching the tag. If you are looking for more local outreach, be sure to include locally-driven hashtags to reach your audience.
3. Create a Call to Action
Hashtags only work well when your audience uses them. They are a great way to prompt your followers to get involved with your brand. Whether you'd like your fans to share photos interacting with your product, give feedback, answer a question or enter a contest, make sure they know how you'd like them to use the hashtag. It may seem obvious to you—but it might not be to them. After putting effort into a social campaign, you need to keep the ball rolling to see traction and engagement. Search Starbucks' #RedCupContest or Lay's #DoUsaFlavor brand hashtag campaign to see some great brand loyalists singing praises about the brand.
Social media is an excellent way to communicate and build awareness with your audience. While today's world may be hashtag heavy, leveraging them in a way to get the most impact on your post and accounts can create new relationships for your business.