First known as the number sign or a tic-tac-toe board, the hash symbol has become a household name. Its reincarnation as the hashtag started over 11 years ago, can you believe? It was once used as every second word in tweets and then migrated its way to other social platforms and has now grown to encompass social movements and moments captured around the world.
It is the defining symbol of the digital age. With advertisements, campaigns and brands constantly in our face it’s hard to find one that doesn’t don the hashtag. Its a marketing tactic used to create communities, awareness and dedicated channels to boost the bottom line and find new audiences.
The benefits of creating a hashtag for your business are huge. Essentially they give you a direct channel for customer engagement and is also a great marketing resource.
Hashtags can be phrases used by your customers to interact with brands. This helps customers remember your brand.
Hashtags will increase your traffic, clicks and engagement. These things should already be factored into your businesses social media ROI strategy.
Hashtags will help your increase clicks, traffic and engagement with your content. Factoring hashtags into your businesses social media ROI strategy is a must. When deciding on what hashtags to use, take into consideration what goals you want to achieve and customize accordingly. These goals could be:
- Increase brand conversations with your company
- Be more visible on a specific social network
- Find hashtags related to you
- Increase total link clicks
- Measure total reach
- Increase mentions
- Have a better grasp of social media trends
Hashtags have different benefits for each social network:
Hashtags originated from Twitter. This means twitter provides the perfect platform to use hashtags. Discover, conversations and following major worldwide trends. For businesses using popular hashtags means you have the chance to have more viewers on your tweet, increasing your exposure.
An advantage of hashtags on Twitter is that you can link each Tweet. Instagram however only lets you put a link in your bio. This makes Twitter less confusing your audience to get from your social media to your website or marketing pages.
Also, Twitter’s search features make it simple for branded hashtags. These hashtags are unique to a brand but are easily discoverable from other Tweets. This is why so many brands do social media campaigns on Twitter. For most businesses, it’s hard to go wrong with this channel.
One area you might want to avoid with Twitter hashtags is with visual content. While Twitter supports images and videos, users tend to engage more with visual content on Instagram. This platform is perfect for contests, promotions and other heavily-visual content.
Instagram hashtags are frequently searched, so your chance of discovery is increased. One issue is that Instagrams hashtags aren’t very cross-network promotional. While you can link to your Facebook or Twitter in your bio, you would normally want to leave that space to link to your marketing pages and websites.
A huge benefit of hashtagging on Instagram is that you can use up to 30 tags per post. Normally less is more with hashtags but with Instagram, you can hide them by putting them in the first comment. Doing this avoids over tagging your posts and spamming your followers.
Facebook hashtags are unique. While they’re not nearly as popular as Instagram or Twitter, hashtags are still effective here. With Twitter you see every Tweet using a specific hashtag. But on Facebook, hashtags categorize by popularity and date used. However, you can filter by who posted the hashtag, tagged location and date posted.
Unlike Instagram hashtags, it’s best to use a few as possible. A Surepayroll infographic showed Facebook posts with 1-2 hashtags receive 177 more interactions on average per post compared to those with 3-5 hashtags.
Start Getting Creative
Now that you have your goals and networks mapped out, it’s time to get creative. However, there’s an important balance between getting too creative or being too dull. Hashtags have to be unique and relevant to your business.
Don’t simply create a hashtag to have one. Instead, make sure this is something that will stick with your audience in a positive way.
Some tips to help you get started:
- On the shorter side
- Easy to remember
- Consistent with your brand
- Exclusive to your brand
- Focused on one message
- Unique and not generic
Following these basic tips will almost guarantee you will see results.