Everyone knows what a hashtag is, right? Wrong!
The definition of a hashtag is… A word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media, websites and applications especially Twitter & Instagram, to identify messages on a specific subject.
Lots of businesses are using hashtags in their social media content but how do you choose which hashtags to use? And are you using the right ones? How else can a hashtag help you?
Imagine being able to type a word into Twitter and immediately join in with a conversation where your potential customers are. Wouldn’t that be amazing?! Well guess what, that’s exactly what a hashtag is. It’s a conversation, a place to connect with people who have a common purpose or goal. A hashtag allows people who want to chat about a topic to do so.
Do you follow the comedian Sarah Millican on Twitter? Over Christmas, she launched a campaign to help people feel less lonely. People who were spending Christmas Day alone found company thanks to a Twitter campaign called #joinin
People were encouraged to use the hashtag and link with one another so as not to feel lonely. People from around the world began to tweet about their experiences. A great use of a hashtag and it has stayed the test of time. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the hashtag has once again been used to create a conversation as people were encouraged to stay at home.
Our top hashtag do’s and don’ts…
* Think about words that your customer may use. Take a look and see if your customers are using that hashtag. Can you connect with them?
* Hashtags are a great way of entering a conversation but you need to be as specific as possible. For example, you run a business selling baby products so you could use #parents but this is quite a broad search term, whereas #newparents would hone in on a much more specific group. Again this might be somewhere this business could search for ideal customers.
* If you decide to create your own hashtag do some research. Make sure the hashtag isn’t being used by another business as this will dilute your message.
* Keep it simple. Don’t try to be clever with your brand-specific hashtags. Keep them short and easy to remember.
* Make sure your hashtag is on all printed materials to reinforce your message.
* A hashtag only really works when lots of people are using it. So whilst you are building your hashtag don’t be afraid to use more generic hashtags like locations or your type of business.
* Changing your hashtag can be a risky marketing strategy as that conversation then dies and you have to start all over again. You also have to re-educate your customers, this is easy for big brands with massive marketing budgets but not so easy for a smaller business.
* Don’t go hashtag crazy. It looks spammy! Make sure that your message has more words than hashtags.
* If you’re a local business consider looking for location-specific hashtags and using these to connect and share information with people. We love #Coventry #Covhour #ThisisCoventry
* Hashtags can be great fun! They are often used to discuss favourite TV Programmes, News and Events. Take a look and join in the conversation.
Remember… It isn’t just about what you have to say! It is a great way or searching, connecting and engaging with your ideal audience. You then need to be prepared to spend time chatting with people.
Hashtags got you in a social media haze? Does your social media strategy need a shakeup?
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