If you’ve ever been on any social media site, you’ve definitely seen a hashtag. A hashtag is a pound symbol followed by a word or string of words. For example #wozmarketing. Hashtags are used to create topics or categories of content or conversations. This makes it much easier for a person to search for the types of topics or conversations they are interested in. Consequently, if a person is interested in researching analytical effects of social media, they would simply search #socialmediaanlytics or #socialmediaanalysis.
There are plenty of ways in which hashtags can be effective tools in social media marketing other than organizing content.
1. Adding personality – Routine tweets or content can be spiced up with creative hashtags. An example of this might be a post that read:
Got up and ran 4 miles this morning! #IdRatherSleepIn
2. Promote an event – If your company is hosting an event, conference, webinar or any other special event, this is an excellent way to engage readers who are wanting more information about a specific event before during, or after the event occurs and allows readers to engage with each other on the topic.
3. Creating a buzz – Using hashtags correctly can create a buzz around the product or service you’re marketing.
4. Reiterate a point – Hashtags allow you to emphasize the overall point of your post. i.e. Got up and ran 4 miles this morning! #running #fitness
With all of this powerful information to consider, it’s important to also know why some hashtags fail. We’ve all seen this comical view of overdone hashtags with Jimmy Falon and
Justin Timberlake on Saturday Night Live.
This funny video depicts ways in which your hashtags can work against you. Some examples include:
1. No consistency – If you are using hashtags, be consistent. Readers who know of a specific hashtag that you use will lose valuable content from you unless you market it consistently
with your hashtags.
2. Too many words – You can lose your audience if you’re using a hashtag with too many words. Remember, there are no spaces between the words so if it takes your readers a while to figure out what you’re trying to say, you will likely lose them. Keep it to as few words as possible. This is a hashtag with too many words #ThisTakesTooMuchSpaceAndEffort. Posting a hashtag like this, even if your readers do understand your point, will likely not respond with this hashtag as it has too many characters thus eating up too many of the 140 characters on Twitter if this is your social medium.
3. Irrelevant hashtags – Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make in using hashtags is not to draw a connection to your content. Your audience will not reciprocate with your hashtag and you may not get the engagement you’re hoping to achieve.
4. Lack of Promotion – You have a great opportunity to create a unique hashtag relevant to your business. Once you have this, you are able to modify it for specific events you wish to promote. #Apple, #Applewebinar #Applepodcast etc. However, if you take the time to create a great hashtag that promotes your business and do not use it in your posts, you lose valuable opportunity to promote your business and its events.
5. Lack of research – It’s important to research the hashtags you wish to use. There can be nothing more embarrassing than using a hashtag that others are using to denote something negative. It can be insensitive and off-putting to the very audience you are trying to attract. A well-known candy company made this mistake with the hashtag #notguilty when talking about their indulgent sweets at a time when there was a high profile trial about a child murder using the same hashtag. This came across as offensive and insensitive. A mistake that cost the company money and reputation. Do your research before you use a hashtag.
Some think that Twitter is the only social media site that can benefit from the use of hashtags. While this may have been true in the early days of social media marketing, this is no longer the case. Hashtags are used across all channels of social media to organize and engage. By tagging your page and your resource material, users who have never “liked” your page or ever known you existed will find you when the interest or need arises. This will be true amongst all social media channels. So get out there and hashtag your business to new heights and let me know How do YOU hashtag?