You’ve heard it on TV, billboards, your neighbor, kids, news articles and, of course, on social media. People are buzzing about “Join our conversation and use hashtag (fill in the blank topic). If you are interested in why they are doing this, or how hashtags work we’ve answered some common questions below.
What is a Hashtag? The # or pound sign is used in front of a word or phrase of words without any spaces. The hashtag becomes a searchable topic or conversation of discussion.
When did Hashtags begin? In 2007 on Twitter. Though many platforms are searchable by hashtags today.
Where are hashtags? While hashtags started on Twitter, you will find them on multiple platforms including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and more.
What is the purpose of a Hashtag? Hashtags connect a group, by topic, on social networks. Simply search by # and then you will see any and all conversations sharing that topic. You’ll see commercials, events and even TV shows ask you to join their hashtag conversation. You can share your opinions with others, ask questions, collaborate on a topic of interest, etc.
Groups of Hashtags? Or how to fine tune your search into a specific area. You can also use combinations of hashtags such as #Mexicanrestaurant #greenwood will show you what is being said about a topic in a specific geographical area. #bridal #gowns #Indianapolis will show bridal gown conversations in Indianapolis. If simply #bridal was used as a search then a huge category that would include, venues, photographers, flowers and on and on across the world. By narrowing your search to specific hashtags you really find a conversation that is related to your search.
Who sees your hashtag? Depending on the platform you are posting on (and your settings) your postings (or content) is typically shared with your followers. Hashtags become a huge part in growing your followers. People that don’t get your postings will see your account when they search for a hashtag conversation. They could then choose to ‘follow’ your brand/account as well. You are exposing your message to those outside of your followers and gaining more views to your hashtag.
Why use a hashtag?
- Research a keyword or topic- Search using a hashtag with a keyword from your business. A plumber will search hashtags #plumber #indy and look for people in need of a plumber in his/her area. By answering their question he/she has a chance to gain business or be known as an expert that another user searching those keywords may find helpful and call for service.
- Monitor your brand - You can also search what people are saying about your brand. You may or may not have an account on that social media platform but chances are people may be talking about you already. Use the hashtag. in front of your business name, and see if any discussions are taking place.
- Promote an event - Create a special hashtag for your event and share online to find sponsors, participants, vendors, volunteers and more.
- Brand Exposure - Use your brand hashtag along with industry keywords to help others connect with you online. Ex. #pools #Indianapolis #coname followed by tip or content showing you are the expert. When other search #pool #indianapolis you want them to see you as an expert in that area.
- Increase website traffic - Use industry keywords then content that asks a question or gives a tip. Offer a link, that is clicked, to answer…link it to your blog, website, etc.. BOOM- extra SEO for your website and perhaps a new customer. Ex. How to select flattering colors for your photoshoot click (link here) #photographer #Indianapolis #familyportrait or How to #savemoney on your water bill (insert link here) #plumber #Indianapolis
- Answer questions - Prove you are an expert in your industry and answer questions which your target audience are asking.
- Gain followers - as mentioned above hashtags are seen by anyone searching that hashtag.
- Hold a contest - ask users to post a photo with your product/service and mark it with a hashtag. Think of all of the exposure you will get as each user that posts and interacts with that hashtag (showcasing your product/service) will be seen by not only their followers, but all of the people participating in your contest.
We hope this gives you further insight into how hashtags are used and how they can help your business. Start checking out conversations with hashtag searches to get comfortable then start using in your social media marketing strategy. Check back soon as we are working on another blog on using hashtags for your upcoming events. Be sure and follow My Marketing Gals on your favorite social platforms. Our links are located below this blog (if viewing from your phone) or to the right if on a computer.
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