Ten years ago, most people still called this ‘#’ a pound sign. Officially labelled a “hashtag” in 2007, the little sign has become a powerful and effective tool in social media and digital marketing. On social media, users assign hashtags to start conversations. Businesses use the hashtag in the same way; they increase awareness of their brands and publish relevant news and information about their industries. Using some simple tips, you can make this tool work for your business.
Sometimes Less is More In a skit performed by Justin Timberlake and TV show host Jimmy Fallon, the two men have a conversation, verbally assigning hashtags to every small detail of their talk. The skit is funny because it is ridiculous—all you get is a string of words that is confusing and distracting. It is really nonsensical so you just laugh and let it pass. In digital marketing, the same principle applies. In a study conducted by Social Bakers, researchers found that using too many hashtags in a post actually caused a decrease in audience interaction. Choose hashtags that are relevant so that you are “talking” to your intended audience.
Relevance How do you know if a hashtag is relevant? You could complete a search for a specific hashtag on Facebook to see what kind of digital conversations, if any, are connected to that particular hashtag. You could also utilize one of the many hashtag analytical tools now available. For example, Hashtagify.me is a free tool that analyzes the usage of any hashtag you type into the search. If there is enough digital activity related to the hashtag, the site will show you the popularity of the chosen tag. The site also reveals other hashtags that are associated with it and their popularity. Using this method is a great starting point and it is helpful to be aware of the other communities that could be searching for your topic. With this tool, the process for selecting appropriate hashtags to add to your posts becomes easier.
Good Manners Using relevant hashtags is the smart way to attract the right audience and it is also good digital marketing etiquette. Using hashtags that are popular but unrelated could bring people to your site who are looking for completely different information. Even if a person has some interest in your subject, they are looking to find something else in that moment. People will be able to appreciate your content and brand more fully when they see it in the right context.
Get Creative? Sounds obvious, right? It depends. Getting creative in digital marketing or even conventional marketing is a must. Coming up with a creative catchy hashtag that everyone will think is amazing and want to check out seems like a good step; and it can be. If you are running a big event that involves many people who will have interest in promoting it, or if you already have a big following (e.g. a celebrity or major brand), you can absolutely get a lot of mileage from a creative hashtag. Often these are the hashtags that go viral. For a smaller company, though, or even a bigger one with a less distinct digital presence, a more common or existing hashtag may be more effective for your promotion.
Whatever your business, you want to be included in the conversations taking place in your target community. Digital marketing that utilizes hashtags helps achieve that goal. By conducting brief research on your prospective hashtag, you will be more likely to have your materials accessed by the right community of viewers. If you are consistently adding meaningful, relevant content and comments, the others in the group will begin to see you as a leader in the field, or influencer. In this role, you can have a major impact on your target community and a larger, stronger following. Hashtags have a significantly beneficial role in your digital marketing campaign when used wisely. For professional advice about building a site or optimization of your existing digital marketing strategy, contact a digital marketing consultant at WSI We Simplify the Internet in Philadelphia.