Even though social media has become a big part of everyday life, not only for social purposes – but also for businesses – there can still be some fogginess around the purpose of hashtags.
In a basic definition, a hashtag is a keyword phrase that is written without spaces and is used on social media, or #SocialMedia. But what exactly are their purpose? These are some questions you might want to ask yourself:
- Are they useful?
- Will they help my business?
- If so, how can I use them most effectively?
Hubspot wrote a blog on how to use hashtags across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that points out that they can be great for launching products or putting extra emphasis on events or conferences.
For example, if you are launching a new product or have a sale on for a certain piece of merchandise, then you can use a slogan-based hashtag to try to promote it through Twitter, for example #ImproveYourSmile.
If someone types any of these words into Twitter or Instagram, it will come up with the above phrase as a suggestion, building traffic and perhaps reaching customers that you might not have come across originally.
Similarly, if you are promoting the hashtag on physical media, such as posters, you can add a strapline that goes along these lines: ‘Join in our conversations on social media with our #ImproveYourSmile hashtag’. This would also work in a newsletter or news item.
Chris Messina from Google wrote in 2007 that the best thing about hashtags is that they’re easy to learn, they’re flexible and they work with user behaviour, which means that you’re not asking your audience to do anything new to get your message across.
They’re also a good way to connect with other events or now, to show your support – think of #JeSuisCharlie. The events that happened to the people of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris were one of the widest reported news stories of 2015 and this hashtag allowed a lot of people to show their support for those affected.
In this way, hashtags are searchable through different feeds, which means that if you create a successful one, or join one that’s already popular, you can easily become part of a ‘trend’ and make your marketing message stronger. #GoodLuck.