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5 Tips for Using Hashtags on Social Media
December 19, 2018
Hashtags-Social-Media

5 Tips for Using Hashtags on Social Media

Throughout the last ten years, social media has taken the world by storm and created its own language. In fact, the word “hashtag” was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2014, with the definition, “a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet).” Now that it’s a core part of our everyday language, you must master using hashtags in your business’s social media posts.

In this post, we’ll list five tips for using hashtags on social media, so you can increase your social reach, gain more followers, and attract customers.

What is a Hashtag and Why is it Important?

Before you start using hashtags, it’s important to understand their purpose so you can use them correctly. Hashtags are labels for content that help others find information on that same topic. They’re added to the end of tweets with a pound sign and consumers can then “follow” or search for a hashtag and see what tweets are associated with that category. For example, someone who wants to find content about food trucks might search for the following hashtags: #foodtruck, #streetfood, #foodtrucklife, #foodonwheels, or #foodietruck.

Hashtags are important because they sort through social media clutter and help consumers find specific information. With about 6,000 tweets per second, it’s easy for people to get bogged down by all the social noise. By using hashtags appropriately, consumers who are searching for content can find your business. This can be a great way to grow your following. For example, small business owners could use the hashtag #ShopLocal to gain customers who want to support local businesses.

Although hashtags for social media originated on Twitter, they can now be used on almost any social media platform. You can create your own hashtags for your company or a promotion or use one that’s currently trending (or both)!

How to Utilize Hashtags to Market Your Business:

1. Craft a Creative Brand Hashtag

Your brand hashtag should be as important as your company slogan. It should showcase your unique qualities, evoke an emotion, and be consistent with your brand. Start by brainstorming ideas based on your name or product. Photoslurp suggests using a whiteboard and writing all your ideas down. You’ll need to push past the bad ideas to get to the creative ones. Once you have a few potential hashtags, make sure they’re not already in use by other companies and use your new hashtag on all your posts and in your other marketing materials.

2. Research Popular Hashtags

Although researching hashtags can be time-consuming, it can take your marketing to the next level. It’s important to use hashtags that are already trending so you gain new followers when people search for that hashtag.

To make it easier, use Google+/Explore to research the latest trends in your field. Hashtags are always time-sensitive and this will give you information that’s relevant right now. You can also use Hashtagify to understand what hashtags are trending now, find related hashtags, and see which social media influencers are using them.

3. Keep Phrases Short

It’s important to remember that the goal of using hashtags is for other people to share their content using your hashtag. Even if #ILoveToTravelToFlorida is a relevant hashtag, it’s so long that people won’t type it again when sharing their Florida travel content. A better option is #TravelFlorida because it gets the point across, it’s easy to type, and it’s memorable.

4. Use Hashtags for Contests

Using a unique hashtag for a contest is a great way to gauge interest and let people know what it’s all about. Hubspot recommends that contest hashtags be short, relevant, memorable, universal, and rare. It’s very important to pick a contest hashtag other people aren’t using, so your contest doesn’t get confused with other messages.

5. Cater Hashtags to the Social Network You’re Using

On Instagram, you can have up to 30 hashtags. With Twitter, you must stay within the 280-character limit for your entire tweet. Although you can have multiple hashtags on each post, it’s not always recommended. For instance, Sprout Social found that posts on Facebook and Twitter get the most engagement with one or two hashtags, but Instagram posts perform better with nine hashtags. When designing your posts, always think about the medium you’re posting on to reach max engagement.

In Conclusion: Use Hashtags to Get Your Brand Noticed

Creating hashtags can be fun, but they should be used to drive engagement with a goal to gain more followers. Hashtags trend quickly, so it’s important to ensure that the ones you’re using are relevant and resonating with your audience. Also, adding humor or cleverness can help your brand get noticed faster.

Have any other hashtag-related tips? Let us know in the comment section below?

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].