Start Using Hashtags to Promote your Business Part 2

Last week, we started looking at the basics of how you can start using hashtags to promote your business on various social media platforms, with Twitter being the king of the hashtagged hill. It was a bare bones basics for those brand new to using hashtags. I recommend you read it if you are clueless as to what a hashtag even is.

In that article last week we looked at what hashtags are, how to use them properly and which social media platforms use them. This article will be going more in depth. I’ll look at how you should compose your hashtags, how you can develop your brand’s voice and I will conclude with specific marketing and business techniques on using hashtags.

How to compose hashtags and use the right language

Twitter is the King of Using Hashtags, the originator of the #, the big cheese on the cheese platter of social media platforms that tag with hashes. They set some good ground rules for best use policies on using hashtags that you can review in depth after looking at these three simplified basics:

  1. Give it meaning: Sending out a hashtag that simply says #funtimes is boring and obnoxious for your followers – they don’t know what you’re talking about from that one hashtag. Equally boring and irrelevant is a message which reads “Our #widgets are #awesome.” Meaningless messages like this are a quick way to find yourself unfollowed or ignored.

  2. Hashtag frequency: An overly hashtagged message can look like spam. For Facebook and Twitter you will not want to use any more than three hashtags in one message. Instagram and Vine are a bit more forgiving, but I’d never go over 5. Just as bad is using the same hashtag two times in one message: “Our #widgets are the best #widgets in the world!”

  3. Be specific: When you are using hashtags you’re trying to start a conversation. Using the wrong hashtag can start the wrong conversation. If you’re trying to talk about your new running shoes by starting a conversation about running don’t use #exercise. Overly inclusive hashtags don’t work much better either. Using #shoes won’t find the runners you want to talk to!

Using hashtags to begin building your brand’s voice

You are using hashtags to start conversations and organize your messages. Using them effectively can also help build your voice and entertain your audience. Hashtags have long been used for humor, sarcasm and pointing out contradictions. There are many examples of hashtags being used for humor all over the internet, here’s one great resource.

What is happening with hashtags in these examples is that the hashtag itself is said like an aside. It is commonly understood to be taken with humor by pretty much everyone who uses them. Be sure that your business is not going too far with these, one person’s joke can be another person’s insult. Use jokes with caution!

Specific ways that you can use hashtags for business marketing

By now you should have a great idea on how to use hashtags, and you’ll have started developing ideas on how to use them for your business. Stay professional and focused with these tips on using hashtags to market your business:

  1. Use one account per social media platform: Sending out messages from your personal account doesn’t work. Open up a specific business account on each social media platform which you choose to use, assign employees to use it if you don’t have time to do it yourself, and get those message going out under one account. This will let your fans and followers find you in one spot.

  2. Study the competition: See what your competitors are doing with their hashtags and use similar ones. Remember that no one owns hashtags (with certain trademark restrictions, of course) outright. If you want to use a competitors hashtag you’re free to join in on the conversation, that’s what hashtags are really for – starting and organizing conversation. As always, be relevant and not spam!

  3. Build your following: If you have more followers you’ll have more people seeing and using your hashtags. This is how things really take off and go viral online. Most businesses start with no followers. A way to get around that dreaded Zero Followers on Twitter is by using a Twitter followers service. Take a look and see if it’s right for your business.
  4. Pay attention to trends: Find hashtags that are relevant to your business and use them. Let’s go back to our shoe company. They’d want to join in on sporting conversations, talking about Usain Bolt during his incredible Olympic run could have brought new followers that were relevant and interested in running. Maybe they need a new pair of shoes to make them more like The Lightning Bolt!

  5. Be creative: No one knows your business better than you, and no one will know what hashtags your business needs better than you will. Create your own hashtags, promote them in the messages you send out, and in other marketing platforms, to develop that unique voice we were just talking about. Make them short, easy to understand and memorable. For example, I’d want to use a hashtag that advertises guest contributors by creating a hashtag like #DevumiGuest.

The last mention on using hashtags will be to make sure they’re visible! Some people don’t realize that their account is set to private so that only their friends and followers can see their hashtags. Be sure to set your account to public if you want to use hashtags to promote your business and find new followers!

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