Using Hashtags on social media can be a great way to increase reach and engagement. So, you need to be sure that you are using the right ones.
How do you do this?
First, let’s understand the Hashtag:
What is a Hashtag?
‘A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content.
Users create and use hashtags by placing the hash character (or pound sign) # in front of a word or unspaced phrase, either in the main text of a message or at the end.
Searching for that hashtag will then present each message that has been tagged with it. A hashtag archive is consequently collected into a single stream under the same hashtag.’ (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
In basic terms the Hashtag is:-
A word that beings with a hash symbol ‘#’ (sometimes called a ‘pound’ symbol)
A way of categorising the content that you have written
A way of filtering content (e.g. click on the hashtag to find all updates with this hashtag)
A way of making your content a little more fun/interesting (e.g. #justsayin)
A way of letting people know what you are talking about (e.g. using the hashtag of an event or a TV program – #BBCNews #CoronationStreet)
What platforms do you use hashtags on?
Instagram – You shouldn’t share Instagram posts without some hashtags! Instagram is where hashtags are used the most.
Twitter – Most people start using hashtags here. They are used so frequently that you are best not using really broad hashtags as your tweet will get lost in the mix.
Facebook – When you see a hashtag on Facebook, you can click on the hashtag and view a filtered list of updates that include that hashtag. This is not commonly used so your audience will be limited.
Pinterest – They are clickable within pin descriptions but not searchable.
Google+ – When you click on a hashtag, you see a list of communities, people and posts relevant to the hashtag.
How Can You Use This Hashtag For Your Postings?
Imagine you are running a Seminar or Conference. Firstly, mentioning your # in all your marketing material will ensure that any activity or discussion on Social Media that mentions this Hashtag can be filtered. You can find out what people are saying about you, both good and bad. It is a way of getting almost instant feedback, for example:
#CSMGrowthSeminar @Richard_Lomax What a great event! So informative and really useful stuff I can use for my business right now, Thanks.
You can also engage directly with responses and promotions e.g.:
#CSMGrowthSeminar @user I’m glad you enjoyed the day. If you want more Marketing Strategies, visit www.common-sense-marketing.com #marketingadvice
You may have people sharing conversations with others which can make them aware of your product or brand:
Wow, just tried this amazing #olay regenerist moisturiser. It really does the business on my skin.
You can do research with Hashtags to bring up all relevant content – e.g. searching #perseid brings up some amazing images and discussion on meteor showers, but for marketing #MissingType shows the media storm of a hugely successful campaign to encourage blood donation.
You can use ‘trending’ hashtags to your advantage. Using a tool like Ritetag can help you to search for a good Hastag to use on Twitter. Picking something relevant to your target market or service.
A sports equipment supplier searching for #sports shows many related ideas. Tags in red are trending but hugely popular so your posting will get lost.
Using a Hashtag that is popular and trending right now will have more searches but may be less relevant to your products.
As of writing this post, #sportsequipment is very relevant, but no one is using it.
#tennis would be relevant and could be used with product images of racquets or clothing that the Sports retailer sells.
It is worth trying a few different hashtags but no more than 2 in each post to get yourself in the mix.
There are many other tools out there for different platforms.
Follow a list of your competitors or influencers in your niche who use hashtags a lot and start using some of their hashtags. You can analyze their accounts with Twitonomy. You’ll find that there are some common hashtags that start appearing.
Tagboard is a search tool for hashtags across multiple platforms.
Iconosquare is an Instagram tool
In summary, Hashtags can be very useful to get your business brand, products or services seen on your postings. In conjunction with a little research, you can boost your responses that are more relevant to your niche.