“Over the past few years, use of hashtags has expanded beyond Twitter to bloggers and to other social media sites, as well, including Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Vine,” as we wrote in a post a few years ago. (Check out the same post to learn more.)
A #hashtag is a type of label used on social media which makes it easier to find messages or photos with a specific theme or topic. Having started on Twitter in 2007 and spreading over the past decade to a host of social media channels, the # prefix before a subject makes it easier for people to find posts on that topic. Hashtag are actually quite useful—they connect you to vast and varied communities you would otherwise never have discovered.
#hashtags have the power to help build businesses
Using relevant hashtags will make your business-related posts stand out and reach your specific target audience or industry. For example, here are some ways hashtags can help your business:
- Build your leads list. If you click on the trending hashtags pertaining to your industry, you will be able to find a good number ofinfluencers and prospects belonging to the same niche. Plus, there’s a good chance that these people will follow you back.
- Help you launch a new product or stage an event. Use the same, unique hashtag for all social media posts and pictures. Ask anyone and everyone before, during and after the launch/event to use the same hashtag if they ever make a public post online. This would streamline all the posts together along with the target audience and create an even bigger targeted outreach. And be sure to track performance across all social media.
- Build relationships, share information, discover new things. Encourage people to live tweet, share photos, or conduct an online Q&A Jump into the conversation…get creative.
- Hold a Twitter chat. Twitter chats can be great, especially if you want to increase customer engagement. Hold a chat that is relevant to the product or the brand and popularize it by using a relevant hashtag. Keep in mind that people will continue using the hashtag over and over, long after your chat.
Keywords vs. #hashtags
For a while keywords were the only way to get your content in front of the right people. Then, #hashtags entered the picture, and entire marketing strategies evolved around these relative newcomers. But, that does NOT mean to throw out keyword marketing!
To effectively reach your prospects, you need to know how and when to use BOTH. Use hashtags for short-term gains…and keywords for long-term benefits.
Hashtags promote your content on social media platforms and help you reach and engage prospects who favor those. Consider that, Instagram posts that include at least one hashtag have 13 percent higher engagement than those without. The results from using hashtags are usually short lived, but extremely effective for that small period of time. That’s just the nature of posting content on social channels where trends come and go overnight.
Keywords deliver long-term benefits. “When combined with quality writing and enticing visuals, keywords help drive traffic to your content,” says one leading content creation company. “…solid keyword use still remains one of the best ways to improve SEO and rank better on SERPs… Using pertinent, relevant and highly targeted keywords throughout your website, landing pages and blog content allows your brand to build a reputation with Google and establish trust with your audience.”
They both boost organic traffic, get your brand in front of prospects, and conducting analysis of hashtags can help with keyword strategy, and vice versa.
A new era of “hashtivism”
Hashtags have become really effective. Just weeks ago, it was estimated that more than a million people participated in women’s marches around the U.S. That number alone is impressive, but the march was even more massive across social media. On Instagram, there are over 1.2 million photos and videos with the hashtag #WomensMarch; and 11 million tweets have been sent using the hashtag since January 11, 2017.
According to a recent post I read on hashtag activism, “We are officially in the age of hashtivism, where a hashtag can not only unify a movement—it can fuel and guide it forward…and hashtivism is set to explode over the next four years, becoming more dominant than ever before.”
Part of it is attributed to our new president’s proclivity to tweeting, with hashtags keeping subjects newsworthy and inciting action. Add to that the power and speed with which you can send a tweet or post an Instagram photo, and movements can take off almost instantly.
Keep in mind that a hashtag is a call to action, but not an action itself. That requires emails, phone calls, blog posts, social media ads, and in-person engagement, as well. In other words, hashtags are only one part of an overall campaign.
The pros at Solamar can help you use hashtags effectively on a wide variety of social media as part of a larger outreach program. Talk to us…we’ve got the hashtag know-how to create the business buzz and conversations you want with your followers time after time.