Take a quick scroll through social media and you’re bound to see them everywhere: hashtags. You’ll find them on friends’ vacation photos (#BeachHairDontCare), on political messaging (#Vote2020), and on weather updates (#NOAA). And, yes, there are even marketing hashtags.
It’s clear that beyond offering clever stage-whisper commentary on social media posts, hashtags must have a purpose. Understanding what that purpose is and implementing marketing hashtags in your B2B social media marketing will greatly enhance your ability to reach people looking for the kind of content you’re posting.
What Are Hashtags?
Social media marketing is an excellent business-boosting strategy, but doing it right means understanding how all the various tools and elements work. Hashtags are one of those tools. Used improperly, they’ll simply make your posts look cluttered. Used correctly, they’ll help put those posts in front of the right audience.
On social media, the hashtag is used to group topics into specific categories. The hashtag #smallbiz or #startup will be used for posts about those topics – posts that may be interesting to small business owners or entrepreneurs. Users can search for a hashtag in order to find posts that are about that specific category.
Hashtags were first used by Chris Messina on Twitter in 2007, but since then, they’ve spread across the various social media platforms. Today, you’ll find them from Facebook and Instagram to LinkedIn.
Why Take the Time for Marketing Hashtags?
Social media marketing is time-intensive. You’re already working to craft excellent blog content and LinkedIn posts. Why devote even more time to dreaming up marketing hashtags for your posts?
Hashtags can increase your engagement with your audience – your clients and potential clients – and make your posts stand out from the rest. They’re an excellent way to promote your business, drive conversation, and even show support for social issues. Hashtags work really well to boost your visibility on social media. In fact, they work so well that Inc. reports that brands that use hashtags see an incredible 50 percent engagement with their posts.
How to Create a Hashtag
Keep in mind that hashtags will only work if they contain no spaces, punctuation, or symbols. In addition, don’t string too many words together. Hashtags that are overly long or obscure aren’t ones that people will search out. Keep it short, simple, and choose terms that will be commonly searched for in regards to post you’re hashtagging.
Once you understand what a hashtag does, you may feel compelled to hashtag, well, everything. Resist this impulse, as it will make your posts look cluttered and hard to read. Keep your hashtags few, short, very specific, and highly relevant.
Choosing the Right Hashtags
Choosing the best hashtags can be a bit of a science, but it’s something you get better at with practice. First, check out industry leaders and leading social media influencers that have the same target audience as your business. Also, follow your top competitors to see which marketing hashtags they’re using. This makes it easy for you to #jointheconversation with any relevant posts.
You can also do hashtag research by simply searching for the hashtag you’re thinking of using to see what kinds of posts (and how many of them) appear. Instagram gives you the option of searching for a hashtag and then selecting “tags” from the drop-down menu to see all of the hashtags that are closely related. Another strategy is to simply take a look through your posts and make a list of the hashtags you used on the ones that got the most likes and engagement.
In addition to promoting your products and services to potential clients, don’t forget to get creative and have fun with your hashtags (think #TGIF or #MotivationMonday). Marketing hashtags can be an excellent way to increase your brand’s following and engagement, but they’re also a great way to let clients behind the scenes and help them get to know you even better.
If you need help with choosing or creating hashtags for your social media marketing, let us know!