A common question asked by many a business owners managing their own social media is: “Do I use hashtags?” This immediately prompts follow up questions in regards to how many, how much, what are they even for, and how to they add value? Let’s take a few minutes to #Explore
History of the Hashtag
I am a friend of the inventor of the hashtag, true story. He’s a former Google employee, a start up genius, and an amazing free thinker, and his Name is Chris if you’re interested (You should be). There’s a common misconception that Twitter invented the hashtag, but that’s incorrect, it just made it really, really popular.
In August of 2007 Chris Messina tweeted to followers asking if they would be ok using the pound sign (that’s what we old folks called the hashtag way back when), in order to categorize their tweets on the twitter platform, thus the hashtag was born.
The idea of organizing thoughts and posts in these social channels to make them more accessible made too much sense, overnight the hashtag became a staple on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. It received it’s name from a blogger, Stow Boyd shortly after creation.
How Do Hashtags Benefit Business
A hashtag will not single handily drive people to your business, but rather it is a puzzle piece in a large social media marketing idea. The power of social media marketing is reliant on how well you use it to engage your target audience and build your brand. A brand can use a hashtag to drive traffic to their website or content, create conversations, and make themselves more easily found online.
Hashtags can also be used for research on your audience. Very simply you can use a hashtag to find other people that you think may be interested in your brand. A very simple example: if you sell socks and you think that you target audience is also interested in shoes, you might consider clicking on #Shoes and getting an idea of the sample of people using this, what do they look like, what are their other interested, what are they talking about, and you can even interact with them.
Hashtags also help build your brand, creating a hashtag for your business is a wonderful way to allow people to easily share and connect with your brand and show others that they are loyal to it. Not only that, but consider creating a hashtag for every new campaign, make it funny, make it serious, make it simple, but just don’t #Forget.
How Do I Use The Hashtag
The biggest mistake I see is that people create thoughtless hashtags that don’t tie into the brand well enough, they also tend to think that hash tagging 50 words in their posts will help them get noticed by more people. This hashtag stuffing is a great way to kill a meaningful engaging post in no time. Some basic Do’s and Do Not’s:
- Research your audience and create a hash tag they will appreciate and find interest in
- Create a Business Hashtag, and use it on all of your business related posts
- Do be relevant
- Monitor your hashtags and use them to create data
- Make your hashtag long on overly overthink it
- Add 30 hashtags at the end of you post
Using hashtags allows you to create a pathway for your social audience, it makes you more searchable, more shareable, and ultimately #MoreMarketable