Facebook just reported that they now have 2 billion active users every month and that’s just under 2 thirds of the world’s population on that social website.
LinkedIn recently surpassed the 500 million active users mark.
These trends are not isolated indeed, they are a reflection of the ever-increasing popularity of social media in our lives. It is true that we no longer go on social media, but we now live online.
Entrepreneurs should follow these stats with keen interest because such vast numbers present almost infinite opportunities to make money and promote their brands & businesses.
One way of taking advantage of this is to use hashtags and in this post, I’m going to show you how you can do that.
What Are Hashtags & Why Are They Used?
A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#) and is used within a post, comment or message to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it.
Whenever you add a hashtag to your post, it is immediately indexed by the social network and searchable by other users.
Hashtags can expand your content reach, amplify your brand, target your market, get your content found, improve your SEO, and more.
How To Use Hashtags On Social Media
There are various ways to use hashtags.
1. Brand Hashtags
These are hashtags that promote your brand or slogan or pay-off line. You want to have a hashtag that’s unique to your business, so research when you are creating your hashtag.
You also want a hashtag that’s catchy so that your audience will easily remember it and will be more likely to use it on social media.
You can ask your customers to tweet, update statuses and upload pics using your hashtag so that it gets viral. This in effect, means you have to serve your existing customers well so that they become your free brand ambassadors.
You can also create a competition where you will ask your audience use your hashtag and win a prize. This will make your hashtag go viral and it will increase your reach.
2. Campaign Hashtags
You can create hashtags for specific campaigns or promotions. For example, if you are running a 50% off promotion, you can use the hashtag #TwoForOne.
You then ask your customers to include the use of your hashtag as a requirement to take advantage of the sale.
When they use your hashtag, their friends and followers will see it and this increases your reach as their followers can also engage with you.
For example, Pizza Inn can use the #TerrificTuesdays and increase awareness. Some people who might have forgotten about will see the hashtag on a friends thread and go and buy.
3. Popular hashtags
A popular or trending hashtag is a topic that has become very popular (don’t confuse trending topics with trending hashtags). When you see a trend that relates to your business, engage in it by using the tag.
By using a trending tag in your content update, you can potentially get your message seen to a massive audience. Your content update can be seen by more than just your Fans and Followers – and it’s free.
You can use these tools to find trending hashtags
–Hashtags.org (general trending hashtags and constant trends)
-Statigram (Instagram specific)
-What’s the trend (popular hashtags in the last thirty days)
-Twitonomy (find personal hashtags similar to your content)
-Trendsmap (geographical distribution of trends)
Monitor trending tags by using the sites and apps mentioned above. When you see a topic trending that is related to your business – make a content update, and include the hashtag.
4. Content Hashtags
Content hashtags are hashtags you use in your posts. They are not branded (and not used to define your business and marketing).
They aren’t necessarily trending or highly popular. They are simply common hashtags that are related to your post content.
Content hashtags improve the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) of your posts. They get your updates seen by your consumers who are searching for, or using, the hashtag words.
Some categories of common hashtags include:
• Product hashtags
• Event hashtags
• Location hashtags
• Holiday hashtags
Rules For Using Hashtags On Social Media
1. A good hashtag should be memorable, unique and relevant
2. Capitalize the first letter of each word
3. No spaces or special punctuation or the @ symbol
4. Always use the same spelling, if you misspell it, you create a new hashtag
5. Each social network has its own specific hashtag etiquette, take the time to see how your audience uses hashtags on every social network.
6. Don’t spam. Related to this, while you can use many hashtags in one post, just remember to keep it clean and not spammy and awkward
7. Make sure your hashtag works i.e it’s all blue.
Are you going to use hashtags? Do you think your business can benefit from the use of hashtags?
Have you been using Hashtags already? What have you been doing right and wrong?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.