#Hashtags: The Business of Being Social By: Dina Arsenault
We have all seen them, what appear to be random pairings of words forming phrases, pre-cursored with the number sign so eloquently embedded in various social media platforms. Many of you have probably wondered to yourself, “Is there a point to this?” or “Wow, that is kinda funny” or “Is this even effective?” and the answer to all of the above, is unequivocally YES!
The use of Hashtags, when done properly can be one of the easiest and most effective ways to market you and your business.
According to Wikipedia, Hashtags are:
“a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the number sign (“
#“) used in various social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram . Hashtags make it possible to group such messages, since one can search for the hashtag and get the set of messages that contain it.”
As you can see, the very definition of a hashtag makes it an extremely effective way to search for specific content through social media platforms and to promote you, your business and your upcoming event. When you are looking to strategically market use Hashtags as a research tool, to find what terms or phrases are trending in not only your country, but you can narrow it down to your specific region, town or more importantly, your specific target audience.
Hashtags, when used properly will actually improve your visibility in search engine rankings which will allow you to generate a higher return on your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) when developing your website or designing your content marketing and social media strategies.
So, now you are wondering, “Well this all sounds great, but how do I create an effective hashtag?” Read on and find out!
How Do I Create And Use An Effective Hashtag?
- Get creative and pick a phrase that is easy to read and relatively short in length.
- Research what terms are trending in your geographic area. This will allow you to see what people are talking about and how this can relate to your business.
- Use a little humour that will reflect you and your business brand positively.
- Check your social media analytics and see which ones worked. Which ones got the most responses, shares, likes, re-tweets, comments or traffic to your website. These will help you to tailor what your future social media posts will include in order to generate the most effective content marketing strategy for you and your business brand. If this particular hashtag didn’t work, then go back to the drawing board and try another approach. Initially, it really is about trial and error and really getting to know specifically who and what your target audience is all about.
The great thing about hashtags is that it is a wonderful way to unify a campaign across all of your social media platforms. When using a specific hashtag for your brand or an event, it allows your audience to search across all platforms easily and effectively, allowing you and your brand to generate new customers and essentially give back to existing ones.
If you are still wondering if Hashtags are an effective and essential marketing tool for you and your business brand in today’s social media age, why not read what Pam Dyer, social media blogger for Pamorama as to say:
“Hashtags are increasingly important in social media marketing campaigns.
They enable content marketers to get in front of their target audience and identify social media conversations that are relevant to their business. Only 24% of tweets include hashtags, but those that do receive twice the engagement of those without them. When used well, hashtags can be powerful tools that drive brand recognition, increase reach, build community, create buzz, and positively impact customer loyalty”
At the end of the day, marketing practices are constantly changing and adapting to the technologies that are readily available. In order to stay competitive we have to change along with them. If you don’t want to be left behind, put on your creative thinking caps (#creativeisbetter) and get hashtagging! (#seewhatwedidthere?) Remember to use this tool wisely, and don’t overuse – that can be extremely annoying for followers. Utilize strategically and have fun!