One of the most effective tools for reaching targeted audiences on social media sites is the hashtag. For the uninitiated, using hashtags for marketing can be confusing and may seem ineffectual. However, hesitancy towards using hashtags can be easily dispelled with a basic knowledge of how hashtags work. Here are some tips for how to use hashtags effectively in marketing.
What is a Hashtag?
A hashtag is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed by a pound symbol (#). Any word or phrase can become a hashtag, simply by removing the spaces from between words and adding a pound symbol to the front. Hashtags are not case sensitive and oftentimes no capitalization is used. However, capitalizing each word can make longer phrases easier to read. Hashtags can be completely unique or they may be common. The most popular hashtags at any give time are said to be “trending”. While first used on Twitter, hashtags are now also used on most other social media sites.
How do Hashtags Work?
The appeal and social aspect of hashtags lie in their function. Hashtags are generally attached to something ( a Tweet on Twitter, a photo on Instagram, or a post on Facebook, ect.) and they act as a label for that content. All hashtagged content is categorized and stored by each social media site.
By clicking on or searching any given hashtag on a particular site, a user can view all content ever labeled with that hashtag on that site (unless privacy settings interfere as often the case on Facebook). In this way, hashtags are used to connect social media users that are thinking and talking about the same things. Additionally, social media users can subscribe to certain hashtags- doing so means they will receive notifications whenever those hashtags are used. Users subscribe to hashtags they find interesting, humorous, informative, or otherwise beneficial.
How to Use Hashtags for Marketing
To market effectively using hashtags, you want to join the right conversations and communicate the right things to the right people. More specifically, you want to use hashtags that are relevant, beneficial and established.
While you can attach several hashtags to your content, it is best to limit yourself to two. Research various hashtags before making your selection(s) to be sure that any content you label with a specific hashtag is relevant to the conversation already existing for that hashtag. Select hashtags that are easily related to your content and that seem likely to reach your target audience.
Any content you hashtag should prove beneficial to most of the social media users who view it. Your content should focus on publicizing specific events or sales that may be of interest to the viewer.
It’s not best to start a hashtag for your own company or product. To reach a new or wider audience, use hashtags that are already established in your professional or geographic area. For the most part, you want to join conversations that are already happening amongst those likely to be interested in your product/service/company. You don’t want to just start talking and hope someone hears you.
Using hashtags, if they are relevant, beneficial, and established, is one of the most effective tools at your disposal for reaching your target audience on social media sites. By joining the right conversations and saying the right things, you can get your message to the right people.