Hashtags may have begun as a fundamental aspect of early Twitter’s success, but today they are a mainstay for many social media activities. There are a ton of people using hashtags in social right now, some are doing it well and others, well….not so much. You may be wondering what the hoopla is all about when it comes to hashtags and whether or not they provide real value to your online branding efforts? For many professionals, the idea of the hashtag may seem unprofessional or even irrelevant. We’re here to tell you that if social media is a part of your marketing strategy, hashtags should not be overlooked.
Hashtags & Search
Are you aware that each of the social media platforms operates as its own search engine? Whether you are in Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram, doing a search on any of these sites will pull up an abundance of information that you can’t get simply by going to Google. Each of the platforms is built with this search functionality whether you are looking for a person, a business, a feed, an interest, a job title…all depending on what you are looking for and where you are hunting. In fact, that is really how hashtags grew in popularity, as a way of organizing and searching Twitter to find groups of people with similar interests.
Interested in the origins of this powerful symbol? You can read all about it here.
Finding Your Audience
Researching and using the appropriate hashtags for your brand, business and industry narrows down the field and brings your business into direct contact with its target audience. If you know who your ideal client is, and what hashtags they are using, you’ve developed a direct channel of communication and the opportunity to build and grow new relationships. To achieve maximum impact, spend time searching these same hashtags and either starting or engaging in conversations on places such as Twitter and Instagram. Just posting them is a way for people to find you but a combination of posting and engagement is always going to make for a more impactful end result.
Branding & Identity
Creating, and trademarking, hashtags that are unique to your personal or corporate brand enables you to present yourself online in a way that is immediately recognizable to your audience. This can be especially beneficial when initially building presence or when attempting to tie brand concepts together. Once people are looking up your content by these unique identifiers, you can begin developing hashtag campaigns to truly grow presence and reach.
As with any marketing effort, understanding the tool and developing a strategy for using it wisely is the path to success. Spend some time discovering what the right hashtags for your brand are – Kim Garst has a great article on that topic here. Once you know your hashtags, have set some goals, and built a strategy for using them effectively, the returns will convince you of how powerful this approach can be.
Now, go out there and #BeAwesome with your social media marketing by incorporating hashtags!
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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.
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