As a small business, you’re likely on social media and if you’re on social media, you’ve seen hashtags; phrases that are preceded by a “#” symbol. Hashtags have been in use for years and are a popular way to label social media posts and connect conversations. Hashtags can be a great way for small business marketers to get people talking about their brands, products and services on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Tumbler and Pinterest. People also Google hashtags.
Hashtags can also increase visibility and impressions. In fact, Twitter found that individuals can see a 100% increase in engagement by using hashtags while brands can see a 50% increase. So let’s look at three rules for your small business to follow when using hashtags.
Rule 1: Create Unique Hashtags
If you have a marketing campaign or product you’d like to label with a hashtag to increase engagement, you’ll want to create a unique and relevant phrase that is easy to remember. Do a quick search on the social networks that currently incorporate hashtags, above, to see if your proposed hashtag is already in use. If not, move on to rule two.
Rule 2: Use Your Hashtag
Customers today increasingly say they want to interact with the brands they follow and hashtags are an avenue to do so and create a sense of community they also value. Use your unique hashtag in posts across your social media platforms. And think about ways you can further encourage your followers to include it in their own posts. Contests requiring the hashtag to enter, discounts and hosting live chats are a few ways to get more visibility and use out of your hashtag.
When using your hashtag, consider how many to use in a post. One study found that while tweets with one or more hashtags were 55% more likely to be retweeted, another found that when you use more than two, your engagement actually drops by an average of 17%. But on Instagram, this doesn’t appear to be an issue. Test it out and find what works best for your audience.
Rule 3: Join Trending Topics
Trending topics are simply larger conversations that a lot of people are joining. It can change moment by moment and is currently only found on Twitter and Google+. Still, you can imply that if it’s trending on Twitter, it’s popular on other platforms as well. You can find trending topics on your Twitter page, to the left under your profile information. When you see a trend that relates to your business, join the conversation with a post that includes that trending hashtag. Doing so can potentially get your post seen by millions.
If you’re really into social media marketing and using hashtags, consider a hashtag management platform like Hashtagify. They’ll help you understand your hashtag performance and tell you other relevant information, like similar hashtags where you might want to jump in.