Hashtags can be found all over social media - from Instagram to Facebook, from Twitter to Pinterest, and even on Google+. Hashtags can help you promote your brand and help you to get your content found.
As a marketer, it would be foolish to ignore the immense potential found in adding a hashtag strategy to your marketing quiver, as it’s a great way to reach your target audience.
Hashtags (or metadata tags) are simply a word, or grouping of words, that follow the # sign (such as #marketing #strategy #metoo). Hashtags can also be numerical (#2019) or a mix of both letters and numbers (#happy30th). As a business owner, hashtags can be cleverly leveraged to engage your brand with your target audience.
Three Hashtag Strategies That Are Successful For Marketing A Business:
1. Content or campaign driven hashtags
2. Trending hashtags
3. Brand specific hashtags
Let’s take a closer look at each one:
1. Content (or campaign) driven
A campaign driven hashtag, is a hashtag you would use if you have a marketing campaign with a specific name. (You could use your business name followed by “EOFY” for example, for an end of financial year sale).
A content hashtag is one you would use in your post that isn’t branded, or trending, but one that relates to the content of your post. For example a hairdresser may use the hashtags #balayage or #ombre to describe the content of a post. Customers seeking to have their hair highlighted a certain way will be able to find their content by searching on those hashtags.
Another example is a surfboard manufacturer who, for example, may post a photo of a surfer riding a wave using one of their boards. A content hashtag may relate to the location (#pipeline #hawaii #surfingusa), the lifestyle (#surfsup #beachbum #endlesssummer) an event (#2018BillabongPipeMasters #BanzaiPipeMasters) or relate to the details of the product (#hyptokrypto #hssignature) not just the brand (#haydenshapes).
A trending hashtag is a popular hashtag that is being used en-masse in real-time. To find out what is trending at this very minute, visit www.hashtags.org (where you are also able to obtain hashtag analytics for your business, track your hashtags and have your hashtags verified). To find out what is trending in your local area on Twitter, you can visit Trendsmap.
To use trending hashtags you need to move fast - the faster the move, the more exposure for both your brand and your content. Use trending hashtags that relate to your target market, and use them to raise brand awareness and to develop relationships with your target demographic. Relevance is the key with trending hashtags, as posting irrelevant content to cash-in on a trending hashtag will work against you.
Opportunities abound here if you put a little thought into your brand, your product or service and your target market. Gyms may see Easter trending hashtags about chocolate, or Christmas trending hashtags about over-eating, as an opportunity to market themselves using trending hashtags. An unexpected snowstorm could be an opportunity for a travel agency’s to post and ask if anyone’s yearning for a tropical break (and if done with humor it could prove very successful); or a cat food company could plan to try to cash-in on the next trending viral cat video.
3. Brand Specific
Brand specific hashtags are curated uniquely for your business. They would usually be your business name (or your business’ tagline). Your customers can use them too – for example, celebrity brides often include the brand of their wedding dress designer in their social media posts of wedding photos (#jaton #jatoncouture #jatonbride). They may also include details of the dress they are wearing as hashtags (#frenchsilk #hautecouture #tailored #corset) along with some fun hashtags (#goddess #dreamscometrue #designer).
Hashtags are a great way to market your promotions and push your brand. Larger firms, such as Under Armour, enter into paid partnerships with celebrities to endorse their brand online. These Brand Ambassadors (Under Armour’s is Dwayne Johnson, a.k.a. The Rock) support brand initiatives and promote the brand in their social media postings – and a huge part of that is in using hashtags.
You can design promotions on social media with entry dependent on your entrant liking your page, sharing your post and using your brand specific hashtag (#pixelfish).
Ideally, your hashtags should all be short, easy to spell and memorable. Associated hashtags - hashtags associated to what your brand or product does - should also be short. As a self-storage operator, you may use #selfstorage #securestorage #extragarage but you would avoid #storeyourextrastuffwithussafely.
Did you know that Instagram posts with at least one hashtag receive 12.6% more engagement? A great example of a brand using their tagline as a hashtag is the popular chocolate bar, KitKat. They use their #HaveABreak (search #HaveABreak on Instagram for a look at the social KitKat community it’s created). KitKat does a great job of engaging with their customers, and responding to their buyers’ posts and brand mentions.
Here are a few final tips on using a hashtag strategy to market your brand:
- Do your utmost to engage with people using your hashtags, in mentions or posts. Comment and let them know you appreciate it!
- Do keep your hashtags short – they are easier to remember for your customers and easier to spell!
- Try to be unique and consistent with your brand’s hashtags.
- Try to implement a hashtag into any promotions or contests you run to increase awareness and create engagement.
- Always use the same hashtag/s on all your social sites.