How to Use Hashtags for your Business

If you’re not using these free, searchable, marketing boosters then you don’t know what you’re missing out on! What am I talking about, you ask? What’s this elusive thing that can help increase your brand’s awareness and sales? Hashtags, of course! If you don’t know how to use hashtags for your business, then there’s a lot you need to know. There are several ways to incorporate hashtags into your marketing campaigns that you may not know about, also. Well, I’m here to give you the skinny on how to (and how not to) use them to your benefit.

Know Hashtag Etiquette for Each Social Media Platform

Using more than ten hashtags may be acceptable on some platforms, but can be downright annoying on others.

Instagram just loves hashtags. You can include up to 30 hashtags in a single post. People use hashtags to search for photos on Instagram, if you use relevant ones for your business you’re likely to get more followers.

If you’re a B2B company and use LinkedIn for your marketing, then you should know that LinkedIn doesn’t support hashtags. It did in the past, but completely gave up on it in 2013. So, if you decide to use a hashtag in a LinkedIn post, it will not help you in any way and it may be annoying to others.

Twitter only allows 140 characters, so you must use hashtags sparingly. You wouldn’t want to waste a whole tweet on hashtags and not give relevant information or even a link back to your website (eek!). Luckily, it’s easy to use the hashtags directly in your tweet to be considered part of your 140 characters. Keep in mind that hashtag symbol is also considered a character.

Facebook does allow its users to add hashtags to their posts, but I’ve found that they’re hardly every used or when they are, they don’t add any value to the post. For example, your friend can say they’ve had a bad day at work. Then at the end of their post you’ll see #iwishthisdaywouldendbecauseiwanttogohome. Since hashtags were initially misused on Facebook, people don’t even consider to use them for their search functionality.

Every company should be using hashtags on Google+ profiles. Google is the main search engine that indexes pages and helps increase your company’s SEO, so why not get some juice from hashtagging (is that even a word?) up your post? I don’t mean go crazy, but like with the other platforms make sure you use relevant hashtags. If the hashtags you want to use don’t flow directly into your post, you can add more relevant ones at the end. Hashtags on Google+ also allow you to be found by people not in your circle.

Make Unique Hashtags for your Campaigns

You’ve seen it everywhere. Companies  using hashtags to increase their overall brand awareness or awareness of specific products in their social media marketing. For example, Lindt Chocalate USA hashtags its own name (#LindtChocolate) in its posts and asks followers to use a specific hashtag when sharing pictures or stories of its products (#LindtLove). Hashtags can also be used to bring awareness to an event that’s happening now or scheduled in the future. The South Beach Wine & Food Festival uses #SOBEWFF in all of its social media marketing. When you search the hashtag, you’ll find famous chefs talking about their appearances at the event this year and you will see posts from the event for previous years. Try not to use generic hashtags (letsworkout)because they may be used my hundreds of people and your business can be drowned out in the crowd.

Use Trending Hashtags

We all know that it’s okay to have a little fun in business. Your social media posts don’t always have to directly apply to your business. You want potential customers to see your business as more than a money -machine. You want them to see the personable side, as well. That means sharing stories/photos of the office and your employees, you being out at a social event, or even talking about the latest celebrity gossip or breaking news. These are times when it’s alright to use hashtags not really relevant to your business. For example, it’s National Doughnut Day and you bring dozens of gourmet doughnuts to the office. You snap a photo and want to share this on your social media. You can use #NationalDoughnutDay and you can also hashtag where you bought them from. Twitter makes it easy to find trending hashtags by having them directly on the left side of your Twitter newsfeed. You can also change the location to find specific hashtags trending in an area.

Do you use hashtags for your business? In what ways have you been successful?

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