Using hashtags in social media was introduced by Twitter in 2007. They were intended to be used as a way of connecting information, and they were embraced within Twitter. Then slowly but surely, people started using hashtags across other forms of media including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and in articles.
Now hashtags are readily used on television, in magazine ads, and in online sponsored posts. Their ability to connect people with information, create trends and track trends has expanded considerably. Small business owners may be hesitant to start using them in their marketing because they do not fully understand them or how they work.
Here are three ways small businesses can utilize hashtags to launch campaigns, engage their audience, showcase new products or services, and repurpose social content.
1. Focus on big events. Things like the Grammy’s, the Super Bowl, and the Olympics lead to large numbers of people to going online, checking the latest news trends, and reading up on what is happening. This is the perfect opportunity for you to promote your business. Find a way to integrate keywords into your messages and hashtag them. For example, if you are selling a new kind of potato chip, you can post something like this: While watching the #super bowl, enjoy our new….” While your post really isn’t about the Super Bowl, by adding the hash tag you will be seen by the people searching the Super Bowl online.
2. Create a hashtag for your campaign and then encourage people to submit content using the hashtag. For example, you can ask people to submit photos of themselves using your product with a hashtag of your product name. You’ll be getting plenty of free content to post and you’ll be creating a trending topic if enough users respond.
3. Create connections. Use the same hashtags across all your social media networks and website. This will create a connection and consistency for people search you online. Hashtags are highly searched, so if you provide consistency in hashtags, when people search your hashtag, they will be directed to multiple sites you run.
While many in marketing believed hashtags were just going to be a fad, they have stuck around so far. Not only that, they have grown in usage and popularity. It is time to embrace the hashtag and integrate it into your marketing plan if you haven’t already.
Related: Surviving Social Media