Happy 10th Birthday to the HASHTAG!

#barcamp. Sound Familiar? This was the first ever hashtag used on social media. Hashtag inventor, Chris Messina, included it in a tweet in August 2007. Even though the use of hashtags on social media has been around for 10 years, many businesses struggle to use them in a constructive way.

Hastags can be very useful in marketing campaigns, but before we explore what hashtags mean to your business and how your business should be using them, we need to examine what hastags mean to consumers.

Hastags are used in 4 major ways:

1. The hastag is a type of meta tag which makes it easier to users to find messages with a specific theme or content. Example: An Instagram User interested in relationship advice might search for terms like "relationships", "dating coach", "matchmaking", "love advice", etc. I searched "matchmaker"! See the image below and the many hastags used to help people find it!

man looking up with terms

2. Another way consumers use the hashtag is to develop their own online collection.scrapbook. You'll see this done often with weddings today. Couples pick a hashtag unique to them and let everyone know to use that hastag when the post anything related to their wedding. (For more details check out this link: https://www.theknot.com/content/wedding-hastag-tips). 

3. Users also use hashtags as somewhat of a silly way to express a thought or expand on their status. When it's used in this way it's pretty pointless but can be light-hearted and entertaining/ You've probably seen your connections use hastags in this manner and have likely used them yourself. Things like - #omg, #beachlife, #amazing. The best way to describe this is with this hilarious video that went viral a few years ago -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57dzaMaouXA

4. Lastly, hastags are a great way to participate in conversations and see what others are saying about current events. We saw a lot of this with the Solar Eclipse! Much of the country was using #SolarEclipse2017 

Solar Eclipse

 

So now that we understand how hashtags are used by the general public, let's look at the different ways businesses can leverage them to interact with existing customers and attract new ones!

First, as with any marketing campaign, your business has to identify your target audience. As an example, we can look at a kitchen remodeler. Who would be their target market? Homeowners, ages 30-65, mostly women, within a certain geographical area. So a kitchen remodeling company would have to put themselves in the minds of their customers and anticipate what they would be looking for. That might include: #kitchencabinets, #kitchenisland, #kitchenstorage and other terms that come to mind when someone is thinking about remodeling their kitchen. 

I went on Twitter and search for NJ Kitchens. Here are a couple tweets I found:

kitchen tweetoutdoor kitchen

 

Let's take a look at another business - Accounting. If you're an accountant, I'm sure your thought is something close to, "No one wants to follow an accounting firm on social media! It's just no interesting enough." Whether or not that's actually the case is irrelevant. You still need a presence as an accounting firm because people have questions about their individual and/or business tax planning every day. And where do they turn to first for that information?? Yep! - The internet and social media. You're clients and prospects are on it every day and you should be too. If you're not reaching them, someone else is. Part of your social media strategy should be repurposing the content that you've created for your website and continue to create new content regularly for your emails and blogs. (Yes, we're just going to assume you ARE in fact emailing and blogging regularly. If not, you have more catching up to do that you think!) So let's type in #njaccountant into the Twitter search and see what comes up: 

cpa

Right away, an accountant posting helpful information that he/she feels would benefit small businesses. 

It's also important for us to point out that LinkedIn is now supporting hashtags again. So when professionals are looking for accountants or tax information, posting with hashtags on LinkedIn is more important than ever!

Developing and sticking to a social media plan is critical and using hastags correctly can help your potential and current customers find you! If you have specific questions about how your business should be using hashtags, please contact us at info@marketsharecomm.com.