Twitter activity analysis of Interband 100 companies highlighted that 97% of them shared at least one hashtag tweet in the last quarter of 2013.
This lone fact is enough to state how important #hashtags are becoming for top brands & businesses. While usage of hashtag as we know it evolved on Twitter, other leading social media brands like Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Tumblr embrace it over time. So, hashtag deserves your attention if you are creating a social media marketing strategy.
Read on to learn how to effectively use hashtags for social media marketing & everyday interactions on popular social platforms.
How to use hashtags for business?
People use hashtags like #love and #poetry to mark their tweets. However, using hashtags for business advantages is an entirely different ball game. Generating business advantages from search option requires appropriate use of hashtags.
Pay attention to following points before using hashtags for promotional posts;
- Create relevant hashtags by using group of words. For example, if you are a local bakery shop in NJ, then, go for #BakeryInNJ. Don’t ever use #bakery #shop #in #NJ.
- Think what your target audience might search before creating hashtags.
- Don’t stuff your posts with hashtags. Think about readability as well.
Beginners Basics & Hashtag Facts
Hashtag (#) is used on social media sites to mark keywords or topics. It can be a single word or a group of words preceded by the symbol #. It is used by people to discover content and participate in conversations.
Interesting hashtag facts & stats;
- Chris Messina is credited for using hashtag for the first time, back in 2007
- Twitter made hashtags clickable in 2009
- Tumblr was the second major social media platform that started using hashtags. Instagram, Flickr and Facebook followed suit.
- Cross-channel nature of hashtag has added greatly to its popularity.
Types of social media hashtags
People all over the world use vast range of hashtags to connect and engage with each other. This is the main reason why young marketers need to learn how to use hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, & other social sites.
Hashtags are usually categorized under following types;
Brand specific – These hashtags usually include company name. Big brands also use their tagline for these hashtags. Kit Kat for instance uses #HaveABreak
Campaign specific – These hashtags are made as per campaign in question and usually have a small social life.
Location specific – These hashtags are widely used by small businesses to connect with local community.
Trending – A trending hashtag is one that is very popular presently. These hashtags usually represent a topic of discussion.
Popular hashtags – These hashtags are in popular usage and are frequently used by social community. #FirstWorldProblems and #BraydenStrong are two popular examples.
Most hashtags fall in above categories with the obvious exception of very standard tags like #love, #poetry and #pain. Interestingly, there is another form of hashtags that are literally used every day of the week.
Hashtags for everyday of the week
Hashtags are used by people & brands on daily basis to become part of discussions. Following day based hashtags have evolved over the passage of time;
Monday – #MondayBlues, #ManCrushMonday, #MCM and #MeowMonday
Tuesday – #TransformationTuesday, #TT, and #TuesdayTreat
Wednesday – #WellnessWednesday, #WayBackWednesday and #WoofWednesday
Thursday – #ThrowbackThursday, #TBT, and #ThursdayFunDay
Friday – #FollowFriday, #FF, and #FridayFun
Saturday – #SaturdaySwag and #Caturday
Sunday – #SelfieSunday and #SundayFunday
If you don’t have the time to come up with unique post ideas, use every-week-of-the-day hashtags to make social media updates. However, make sure you don’t create your hashtag marketing strategy entirely around them.
How to use hashtags – Basic Points to consider
Hashtag usage is not rocket science but even experienced marketers sometimes get them wrong. Pay attention to following points to learn how to use hashtags effectively;
- Make sure your campaign hashtag is easy to spell, remember, and not very lengthy.
- Attention span of Twitter users is very low. So, keep tweets short and sweet.
- Use a hashtag that your audience can resonate with and hints about your product, brand or well-known marketing pitch.
- Run a search on your chosen hashtag to see what kind of results it generates. In case it is already associated with some other brand or brings out something negative, desert it & look for another.
- Careful study your chosen hashtag for double meanings, slangs, and linguistic issues. Always take a second opinion before finalizing
- Restrict hashtag usage in individual posts. While hashtag tolerance varies from channel to channel, keep them below 3 to remain on the safe side.
Above basic guiding points will help you avoid hashtag blunders but to make your hashtag campaign a success, you need a hashtag marketing strategy.
Marketing strategy to use hashtags effectively
Whether you want to run a Twitter hashtag marketing campaign or Instagram hashtag promotion, you need a master strategy to engage users and generate interest. Think about following points while creating your hashtag strategy;
Goal determination – Defining social goals is critical to come out with the right pitch. Do you want your hashtag to reach top trends on Twitter or aim to appear for a popular hashtag search query on Facebook? Define your goals for getting the right response.
Hashtag research – Extensive research is important to find the right hashtag. Consider generic hashtags that resonate well with your product, audience and campaign theme. Nike’s #MakeItCount is a great example.
Push strategy – For social media beginners, initial push or publicity is important. Think how you are going to send out the message about your hashtag campaign. Brands partner with influencers and invest in paid marketing to reach their target audience. So, think how you are going to get the initial eyeballs.
Participation strategy – Starting a hashtag campaign and not following up with the interactions is the worst thing you can do. Create a participation strategy and define how you will interact through hashtag. Communicate with people through mentions and keep a close eye on threads.
Campaign promotion – Even if your hashtag campaign is Tumblr based, other social media campaigns can generate additional buzz and coverage. Inform your followers on other social media channels about the ongoing activity. Sharing campaign information and user generated content is a great way of doing the same.
Needs more tips about how to use hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Tumblr?
Here they are!
- Studies have shown that engagement improves when links and hashtags are used together. So, remember the formula, Link + Hashtag = Better Engagement.
- Use your brand tags in your online marketing campaigns to improve recall.
- Take your most important tags offline. Promote your online hashtag based campaign through offline merchandise.
- Don’t forget to run risk assessment while planning a hashtag campaign
- Set realistic expectations for your campaign.
Facebook was the last one to bow down to the power of hashtags and optimized its system for them in 2013. You can choose to avoid them or make them part of your social media strategy to get better brand visibility & benefits.
Do you have any questions about using hashtags to improve your social engagement and response? Share your questions in the comment section or get in touch with us directly.