Hashtags – they’re everywhere. Look at any social media network, and you’ll see them all over the place. Big money corporations use them, small mom n’ pops use them, teenaged girls use them (a LOT), and (probably) your grandma uses them. And all of these people are using them for good reason – there is no other tool that can help you connect with your audience in quite the same way.
If you own a small business, you need to incorporate a hashtag strategy into your e-marketing plan. When it comes to social media, using hashtags will get your posts seen by more people, increase your followers, and increase engagement. They will help you cut through all that other noise on the internet and make it easier for your audience to find and interact with your content. Plus, they take your posts up a notch, and create a fun and simple way for others to engage with your brand.
If you’re a newbie, you can’t just jump into the hashtag game all willy-nilly. There is a certain etiquette to it, and it’s important to know how to use them, and when. Here’s how to get started on creating your own hashtag strategy:
- Understand how hashtags work. If you’ve been living under a rock, or for some other reason have honestly never seen a hashtag before – it looks like this: #. It is simply a label used on social media to make it easier to find content. Just place it in front of any word, or group of words, and voila! – you have a hashtag.
- Keep your brand’s voice in mind. Don’t just use whatever hashtags happen to be trending at the moment – you have to stay true to yourself and your business. Using the right hashtags can help you build brand identity, but only if you’re consistent. Note: if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try creating your own unique hashtag to promote your business or an event.
- Know your target audience. When creating your strategy, it is essential that you understand who you’re speaking to. Do some research and find out what your target audience is interested in and what sort of content they’re likely to engage with. A quick search on Twitter or Facebook should give you some ideas.
- Do some research. Set aside a little time for brainstorming and come up with a list of keywords related to your business (for example, if you’re a wedding planner, you might write down words such as “wedding”, “wedding photographer”, or “wedding venues”). Then, take those words and search for related hashtags. Hashtagify is an excellent resource for Twitter keywords, and Instagram has a great built-in search tool. Otherwise, a good, old-fashioned Google search is a fine place to start.
- Create a hashtag library. To help streamline things, create a spreadsheet of all the tags you found during your research. Organize your list by content themes you commonly use, and create a handy reference for future use.
- Create an appropriate strategy for each social media platform. They don’t all work the same way!
- Instagram – Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, and you should use them all! If you don’t like the way all of those hashtags look, you can easily separate them from the body of your post. Either use the “four dot method” (where you simply use a line of four dots to create a space between your main post and the hashtags) or insert the hashtags into the 1st comment immediately after you post.
- Facebook – Hashtags work on Facebook, but they’re not very important. They’re probably not going to help you increase your reach, and if you use too many, it can be seen as spam. Use 1 or 2, tops.
- LinkedIn – Much like Facebook, 1 or 2 hashtags will do, if you use any at all. The only real difference is, on LinkedIn, hashtags may help you show up in search, especially if you’re posting blogs.
- Twitter – Hashtags are VERY important here. Definitely use them to get likes, retweets, and followers. In fact, tweets with hashtags are 55% more likely to be retweeted and increase engagement.
- Pinterest – Forget everything you’ve heard about Pinterest and hashtags – they don’t work here. They are 100% seen as spam and can even decrease your visibility. Instead, use keywords in your Pinterest descriptions.
Now go out and start using your hashtags! It can be fun to see how much it actually makes your business grow, so make sure you write down your starting numbers and compare them to where you are at the end of the next month. Happy hashtagging!
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