What’s a #hashtag? One recent addition to popular culture is the use of hashtags. Every time you look at a flier, watch the news, or talk with a teenager, you’ll be exposed to different and confusing hashtags. What are hashtags anyway? What’s their function? How can they help your social media marketing efforts? #readmore
Hashtags are primarily used to group social media posts together on the major social networking sites (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, etc.). Think of hashtags as a way to start or join a worldwide conversation on any given topic, kind of like participating in a live multi-platform public forum.
For example, you could log on to Twitter, the largest user of hashtags, to check out what people are saying about the city of Boston, where you’ll be visiting this weekend. You would simply type #Boston in the search field and hit Enter to find an unlimited amount of tweets from users about the city. Similarly, if you want to join the conversation this weekend, you would simply tweet something like, “I definitely wouldn’t mind living here! #Boston”. Now, your tweet will show up in the search results for #Boston when others try to discover what the city is like on Twitter.
Hashtags can also be used as a way to “tag” a little humor into the social media world. A great example of this is the show segment, #latenighthashtags, on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Every week, Fallon makes up a hashtag topic for his viewers to tweet about, and reads his favorite posts live on his show. A recent hashtag, #whyimsingle prompted Twitter users to tweet out reasons why they are single. One response was, “@JohnnyFdetrOit: Sometimes when I’m alone I pretend I’m a Major League Baseball Player and I interview myself. #whyimsingle”. Another way to humorously use hashtags is to tag your statement with an ironic hashtag, like: “@cluedont: The ability to cook the right amount of pasta. #crapsuperpowers”.
- Here are a few ground rules to get the most out of your hashtagging experience.
- To activate a hashtag, type “#” followed by your tag.
- Including any punctuation or spaces will break up your hashtag. For example, in the hashtag #i hate winter, only “#i” will be counted as a valid hashtag. The same goes for #idon’tlikewinter; your hashtag will be #idon in effect.
- Capitalization has no effect on the hashtag. So, #MyWeirdTeacher is #myweirdteacher is #myWEIRDteacher, etc.
- Be careful not to spam your posts with hashtags. As an unspoken rule, your posts shouldn’t include more than three short, or one mid-size hashtag. #dont #do #this #its #really #annoying #and #people #will #probably #unfollow #you #if #you #dont #stop
If your business is interested in marketing to the billions of people who use social media (it should be), then here are three ways to maximize your use of hashtags in your social media marketing efforts.
- You can search hashtags for more business leads. Join in on the #SMB and #smallbiz conversation online. You could search for industry partners using #yourproduct or #yourservice. You could even find new leads by searching for frustration points.
- You can make your own hashtag for your business. To generate some online buzz about a new campaign or project, use your new hashtag in all relevant posts, and encourage your customers and clients to use it in their posts. Be sure to make your hashtag short and sweet, like #letsdolunch by Domino’s Pizza. Last year, Domino’s encouraged their followers to use the hashtag in their tweets to catch discounted lunch. In one day, 85,000 tweets came in as a result, and Domino’s responded with half-priced pizzas that afternoon. You can also ingrain your hashtag into the design of all TV ads, postcards, radio ads, fliers, and other social media ads.
- Hop on the Follow Friday bandwagon. Every Friday, businesses all over the world use the hashtag #FF to point their followers to visit their business partners’ profiles and follow them as well. For example, you could tweet: “Follow our favorite Los Angeles restaurants! @YummyItalian @SpicyMexican @AwesomeChinese #FF”. If your friends get any followers from your tweet, chances are they’ll repay the favor next week.
We understand that hashtags can be intimidating if you’re just joining the movement. However, many businesses have strongly benefited from using hashtags in their social media marketing campaigns. If you feel lost, the best way to learn is to jump in and start using hashtags today! If you’re interested in more ways to boost your social media marketing efforts, call TMS at 1 (626) 737-2960. We’ll help turn your company into the latest #trend.