by Dina Arsenault
We have all seen them, those random pairings of words forming phrases, pre-cursored with the number sign so eloquently or sometimes not so eloquently embedded in various social media posts. Many of you have probably wondered to yourself, “Is there a point to this?” or “Is this even effective?” and the answer is unequivocally YES!
The use of Hashtags, when done properly can be one of the easiest and most effective ways to market you and your business online.
According to The Balance, Hashtags are:
“Used to categorize content and track topics on Twitter and other social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and LinkedIn. When you use hashtags, you help people who are interested in your topic find your posts and Tweets more effectively.”
As you can see, the very definition of a hashtag makes it an extremely effective way to search for specific content throughout various social media platforms as well as to promote you, your business, your upcoming event or your campaign.
When used properly, hashtags are a great way for individuals and brands to stand out on social media and as a result increase their organic reach and engagement in the process. They give individuals useful context and cues for recall, aggregate posts and images together, and update a group of like-minded individuals on certain topics in real time.
When you are looking to strategically market you or your brand online, use hashtags as a research tool, to find what terms or phrases are trending in not only your country, but your specific region, town or more importantly, your specific target audience as well.
Hashtags, when used properly will actually improve your visibility in search engine rankings which will allow you to generate a higher return on your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) when developing your website or designing your content marketing and social media strategies.
So, now you are wondering, “Well this all sounds great on paper, but how do I actually go about creating an effective hashtag?”
Read on – Don’t worry I have you covered…
How Do I Create And Use An Effective Hashtag
- Get creative and pick a phrase that is easy to read and relatively short in length.
- Research what terms are trending in your geographic area. This will allow you to see what people are talking about and how this can relate to your business.
- Use a little humour that will reflect you and your business brand positively.
- Check your social media analytics and see which ones worked. Which ones got the most responses, shares, likes, re-tweets, comments or traffic to your website. These will help you to tailor what your future social media posts will include in order to generate the most effective content marketing strategy for you and your business brand. If this particular hashtag didn’t work, then go back to the drawing board and try another approach. Initially, it really is about trial and error and really getting to know specifically who and what your target audience is all about.
The great thing about hashtags is that it is a wonderful way to unify a campaign across all of your social media platforms. When using a specific hashtag for your brand or an event, it allows your audience to search across all platforms easily and effectively, allowing you and your brand to generate new customers and essentially give back to existing ones.
If you are still wondering if hashtags are an effective and essential marketing tool for you and your business brand in today’s social media age, read what Kim Garst, named one of Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencers has to say:
“Hashtags: Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re an integral part of using social media. With reams of content being produced and promoted on social media each and every minute, hashtags provide a simply way to search for specific, topical content. With every major social network now allowing the use of hashtags, understanding why they’re such an important part of social media marketing is even more important.They allow us to whittle down the thousands of updates we receive daily from friends, colleagues and businesses, as well to find new people to interact with and new conversations to follow. They give us the ability to track conversations about our brand and our products, and help us keep an eye on what’s going on in our industry.”
At the end of the day, digital marketing practices are constantly changing and adapting to the technologies that are readily available. In order to stay competitive we have to change along with them. If you don’t want to be left behind, put on your creative thinking caps and get hashtagging!
Remember to use this tool wisely, and don’t overuse – that can be extremely annoying for followers. It can also lead to a new phenomenon on Instagram as of late called, Instagram Shadowban:
“This occurs when your hashtags become ‘un-discoverable’. You can use your hashtags, however you’ll only show up in hashtag feeds of your current followers. This means that your images won’t show up in hashtag feeds of anyone who DOESN’T follow you, obviously reducing the reach of your account and making it much harder to reach a new audience.”
If you are:
- Using bots, automated services or buying followers
- Using the same hashtags for months on end
- Receive a recent surge in activity
- Use broken hashtags
An Instagram Shadowban can occur. It just goes to show, that if you place your marketing focus on building relationships over acquiring instant sales by providing value to the community you are striving to build around your brand, these types of things can and will be avoided. So my best advice for when you venture into the world of hashtags is to utilize strategically and above all else have fun!
Dina Arsenault Digital Media Strategist and the undisputed reigning Madame of creativity, community and connection for the Ontario Chapter of http://acueconsulting.com/.
A celebrated and sought after speaker and writer, Dina is a caffeine fueled and food delighted ( locally sourced of course) Community Builder, Relationship Nurturer and all around Small Business Supporter. Dina’s online expertise is driven by her desire to promote your business online while connecting and elevating others in the process to foster community and the all around ‘good feels’. If you want to be visible, connected and engaged with your community (and exposed to great food and fun) Dina is your gal!