For many of us, hashtags are part of our everyday vocabulary. The term was added to The Oxford Dictionary in 2010 and the Scrabble Dictionary in 2014. But, many of us don’t understand how to use hashtags for business.
#What is a Hashtag?
Hashtags are the most popular way of categorising content. If your social media platform is the filing cabinet, then a hashtag is the file containing all the relevant records you are searching for. Above and beyond this, hashtags make your content discoverable, allow you to find relevant content from others and help you connect based on a common interest. When a user adds a hashtag to their post, the social network indexes the post and it becomes searchable and discoverable, via that hashtag. When someone clicks on that hashtag, they will be taken to an aggregated list of all posts using that hashtag.
According to the digital ad agency, Radium One almost 70% of social media users are using hashtags.
So, how should you start using Hashtags for Business?
#Create your own hashtags for business
Creating a brand hashtag using your business name or tagline is an easy way of monitoring what is being said about you, as well as promoting your brand. By requesting that your audience include your brand hashtag in a post of their own, you have the potential to reach a much wider audience.In addition, use them for a particular marketing campaign to tie your marketing efforts together.
#Go with the trend
A trending hashtag is a hashtag that has become very popular and is the topic of everyone’s conversation. When you come across a trending hashtag that is relevant to your business, use it! You are, “hanging on to the coattails” of that hashtag as it appeals to its’ far wider audience. However, the downside of this is that your post may get “lost” amongst thousands or even millions of posts using that same hashtag.Twitter very handily shows you trending hashtags, like this:
As with any other trends, be quick in jumping on them, as they rapidly change and above all, don’t be spammy. Instead, ensure that any hashtags you use are relevant to your business.
These hashtags do not directly relate to your brand but are the “bread and butter” hashtags you can use to categorise your posts. Using content hashtags will help the SEO of your posts.
When choosing hashtags for business use, think like your audience. Choose relevant hashtags that connect both your product and market.
You may also use a location hashtag – useful if you wish to connect with those in close geographical proximity to your business location. For example, if my business was looking to increase brand awareness within my local community, I might create an Instagram story and use the hashtag sticker to show my location. Anyone searching for that location, will see a collection of posts and stories containing that hashtag; Clever eh?!
Core strategies. Use hashtags to:
Brand your business.
Catch real-time trends
Expand the Reach of your posts
#Which Hashtags to use
Hashtags are critical to obtaining and increasing post engagement. They allow us to identify the conversations being had by, and areas of interest to, our target audience. When we, as business owners, engage in this conversation and add value, we can start to build a relationship with another person and who knows where that relationship may go?
Tools like hashtagifyme are a free way of researching hashtags as well as their popularity and relevance over recent time. One word of warning, however, ensure you research your hashtags of choice to ensure their context. Some seemingly innocent hashtags have sinister or offensive connotations, so do your homework beforehand!
#Where to use them
Instagram recently rolled out the ability for users to follow hashtags. Now, a user can have your content show up in their feed, simply by following a hashtag. This makes hashtags for business an even bigger deal. It allows users to mark content they DON’T want to see, by selecting the “Don’t show for this hashtag” option. But, listening to your audience, understanding their requirements and interests, researching hashtags and consistently posting quality content is essential, as too many posts marked like this could negatively affect your feed as it falls foul of the platform’s algorithm.
So, that’s it. A look at how to use hashtags for business. Hopefully, this article has detailed when, where and how to use hashtags in your social media posts. The key, I think, is to do your research and experiment with hashtags – find the ones that consistently give you the best results, but ensure you vary their use in your posts. Try to avoid generic ones (#likeforlike’ #love etc) and instead go for lower density, more specific choices that suit your business and audience.
If you have found this blog of use, please comment and let me know. Equally, if you would like to discuss Instagram for Business use with me or any other management of social media platforms, or would like some bespoke training, tailored to you and your requirements and ability, then please get in touch.
I am a freelance Social Media Manager with 20+ years’ experience in marketing. I now work with businesses of all shapes and sizes to strategically enhance their online presence, by offering a variety of social media management packages as well as social media training, bespoke to you, your requirements and ability. If you spend too much time on social media, rather than generating revenue, if you feel like social media is a black cloud hanging over you, or you just don’t know where to start, contact me and I will be happy to assist.