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Social Media Bootcamp: Using Hashtags for Your Business

Posted on: October 13th, 2015

People using hashtags

From television commercials to billboards and t-shirts, it’s obvious that hashtags are a trend that’s here to stay. Research shows that tweets with hashtags get two times more social media engagement than those without tags. This makes the hashtag one of the most effective and fun ways to participate with your audience.

What is a Hashtag?

How did a simple pound sign become what we know of today as the hashtag? Chris Messina originally proposed on Twitter that the hash symbol be used to group conversations and topics. At first, this idea was rejected, but in 2007, during the San Diego fire, #SanDiegoFire became widely used to spread news and updates. Since then, the hashtag has taken off.

Hashags have spread from Twitter to many other social media platforms to create searchable links, making it easier to categorize current trends in social media. The hashtag is also used to convey emotion, give context, share an idea and promote a brand. It’s something that everyone can use in their social media engagement.

Supported Platforms

The hashtag is now used in multiple social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Vine and Pinterest. On Facebook, businesses are the primary hashtag users, so although it is growing, it hasn’t become popular with most consumers yet. It is used heavily in Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Pinterest uses hashtags to search for content directly from the description. Even Tumblr has a “tag” section where you can enter keywords that are similar to hashtags. All of these hashtag uses make it easier for others to join the conversation.

Tone

In the Twitter realm, hashtags are often used to give your message a voice and render a sense of humor or sarcasm. This is something that can be used to your advantage on Instagram as well, and it can help to attract more followers.

Here are a few sample tweets that show hashtags giving voice:

  • It’s time for the weekend! #TGIF
  • After years of hard work, I have just received a promotion! #happy
  • Today is all about coffee, coffee and more coffee! #Mondays

Trend Setting

Possibly one of the most important aspects of utilizing the hashtag is being aware of trends. Trends on Twitter and Instagram are real-time, hashtag-driven topics that are currently popular. Many use these trends to increase traffic to their profile. They can also be used by businesses to support a campaign or promotion.

For whatever reason you may be hashtagging, it is important to know some of the Do’s and Don’ts of how to use a hashtag.

  1. Do use a relevant hashtag. A creative and appropriate hashtag can both increase your credibility and brand awareness.
  2. Do use hashtags to keep track of trends in your industry. This is one of the most efficient ways to gain insight into what your competition, consumers and professionals are doing in your field.
  3. Do give context. Otherwise, your message could come across as confusing or boring.
  4. Don’t overuse hashtags in a single message or make a hashtag too long. Remember, in Twitter, you only have 140 characters and you want to be able to take full advantage of your tweets! In other words, don’t have more hashtags than actual content on Twitter.
  5. Don’t be afraid to contribute to an organic trend. Hashtags are often created online with no real agenda. Look for opportunities to make people think and laugh!

Take advantage of social media’s influence on your business and bring your online branding to the next level. Appleton Creative is an award-winning, full-service online marketing agency located in Orlando, Florida. Appleton works with local, national and international clients to deliver custom content, persuasive online ads and expertly crafted campaigns. By implementing valuable and shareable digital content strategies, Appleton can create the perfect social and online marketing experience for your brand and audience. Your Internet advertising goals are worth a conversation: contact us at 407-246-0092 or info@appletoncreative.com.