If you’ve been a part of the social media world for even just a little while, you may come across this symbol, #, quite a bit. If you’re looking at it and thinking, that’s a pound sign, stay and learn something new! The pound symbol has gained new meaning since the birth of social media, and it has grown into a great marketing tool that every small business owner should utilize to engage with their audience.
Before we go into how they are used and more importantly, the benefits they can offer you, let us first cover what a hashtag is. A hashtag is a label that you can use on different social media platforms to categorize your posts. Twitter was the first to put a hashtag into use. In a 2007 Tweet, #barcamp was used and since then, hashtags have grown to mean more than just grouping content but bringing people with the same interests together.
Before you can start hashtagging away, check out the three rules that we have developed to make sure you produce a great hashtag.
Rules of using a hashtag-
1. They must always begin with the pound symbol, #. It will not work if you include any spaces, symbols, or punctuation.
2. Keep your hashtags simple and concise. The longer and more confusing a hashtag is, the less effective it will be. You want people to be able to quickly remember your hashtags.
3. Don’t overuse hashtags. One or two a post would suffice. Any more and you may look like a fake profile posting fake content.
Now that you have the background on what a hashtag is and the three rules to follow, you may be asking yourself, why should I be using hashtags? While there is an abundance of reasons, we can list a few for you now,
- Engage with your followers
- Grow your follower base
- Stay current and up to date on social issues
- Make it easier for people to find you and your content
These may seem a little generalized but don’t worry, we will go over how to use hashtags to get the most benefit out of them. The first thing to always keep in mind is to consistently check the trending hashtags on different social media platforms. This can help you utilize trending hashtags to your advantage and bring in more traffic.
The thing with hashtags is, that people will search a certain hashtag to find content under that hashtag, and you want to be in that mix of content! Another way that users utilize hashtags is by actually following a certain hashtag. It doesn’t matter what account posts, as long as they include the hashtag the user is following, that account will pop up on their feed. This is a great tool for newcomers that have yet to amass a following quite yet. This way, you don’t need followers for people to view your content and interact with it.
To reap the benefits of hashtags, make sure to use relevant hashtags for your industry. If you’re in the clothing/retail space, using a hashtag like #pasta won’t get you in the right audience. Do your research on what is trending in your space and use that to your advantage. A great tool that Elemental Plans offers is monthly monitoring of social media and analytics review to help you understand what’s working and what’s not. That way, you’re not trying to navigate the social media world by yourself. You have a team dedicated to your success!
Lastly, we recommend using hashtags that are not too clever or obscure. If the user wouldn’t think to search for it, you won’t get much traffic from it. Use them organically and they have a great chance of bringing in traffic and increasing engagement. Don’t think about it too hard or make it too complicated. Hashtags are meant to be short, concise, and fun!
We hope that we have shed some light on hashtags and made it a little bit more understandable from a business owner’s perspective. People who have grown up in social media take their knowledge for granted sometimes and forget to go back to the basics. It’s always good to refresh your memory, so even if you knew what hashtags were before the reading, we hope you’ve learned something new!
Let us know what you learned by leaving a comment below! As always, questions, comments, or concerns can always be directed to this link, https://www.elementalplans.com/contact, fill out the short form and we will be in contact with you shortly!
Digital Marketing Institute, “How to Use Hashtags Effectively on Social Media”, Clodagh O’Brien, January 8th, 2022, https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/blog/how-to-use-hashtags-in-social-media, Accessed August 22, 2022
Hootsuite, “How to Use Hashtags in 2022: A Guide for Every Network”, Hannah Macready, May 2, 2022, https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-use-hashtags/, Accessed August 22, 2022
Naylor, “Why Are #Hashtags So Darn Important?”, Nancy Taylor, June 12, 2015, https://www.naylor.com/associationadviser/why-are-hashtags-important/, Accessed August 22, 2022