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What You Need to Know About #Hashtags – Why you need them, and How to Strategically Use Them to Build Your Brand

If you spend any time on social media, you see hashtags everywhere – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. If you are not using them in your social media posts, blogs, and website content, book promotions, and general media, then you are missing out on a free marketing strategy that enables you to reach and engage with your target audience. This article can help you quickly get up to speed on hashtags, and how to use the strategically for your business!

What is a #Hashtag?

Hashtags are a single word or a group of words – without spaces – where the first character is a hashtag (or number sign). They can signify a cause, brand, feeling, product, location, business, a holiday, season, hobbies, community activities, and more. To keep people interested and engaged, your hashtags do need to be relevant to your post and / or general business.

Some of the most popular general hashtags right now are:

#love, #instagood, #photooftheday, #picoftheday, #fashion, #beautiful, #happy, #cute, #tbt

Popular hashtags for general business include:

#marketing, #marketingtips, #strategy, #mktg, #b2cmarketing, #b2bmarketing, #promotion

How Do Hashtags Help Me Market and Grow My Business?

Hashtags are now searchable terms and some social media platforms are updating their engagement strategy to include the ability for users to follow the feed for a hashtag, just like you’re able to follow the social media feed of a person or business. Therefore, the right hashtag could get you noticed more and raise your influence in a targeted market space.

How Can I Create and Use Hashtags Strategically?

You will want to develop several different hashtags that you consistently use for your business.

  1. Business Name: You need a Hashtag with your business name, your tagline, and/or a variation thereof. For me, you will often see #Soar2Success as one of the hashtags in my posts. This way, I can do a search for #Soar2Success and Google will pull up all my social media images where I have used that hashtag, as well as my social media accounts. With that hashtag, the Google’s search results contain mostly my content on Page 1. The hashtags for this category need to be unique to you and your business, so be sure to do your research first and make sure someone else doesn’t already dominate the market for the hashtag. The screenshot of Google’s Image Results are used as the Featured Image on this post. When you consistently use your unique, branded hashtags, the same results can happen to you!
  2. Business Niche: What is your niche, and what are you known for in your sphere of influence? For me, I am a public speaker and I help other speakers launch or accelerate their careers. Other good hashtags for me are #SpeakerTips, #PublicSpeaking, #InspirationalSpeaker, and #KeynoteSpeaker. These are hashtags that you want to be popular by others who also post good information, so you can benefit from being associated with that particular niche.
  3. Business Products: If you are launching a book or product or looking to boost your clientele with certain services you offer, create a hashtag about that product so you, and others, can do a search for any posts related to and/or shared with that hashtag. I recently launched a new book, and I made the title into a hashtag – #BookabilityFactor. If I am talking about other products and books of mine, I’d use #PILOTmethod, #NetworkMarketing, #NotStalkingFollowUp. You also want your product hashtags to be unique to your business.
  4. Promotional Campaigns: Contests where people have to post, share, and engage with others in your social media community is a GREAT way to spread awareness about you, your brand, and your services and products. Create a unique hashtag for your campaign (again, be sure to research it) and then make using that hashtag a requirement in posts for contest entry. Also, you will need to use a 3rd-Party Contest control to stay within the rules and regulations of most social media platforms, and to make things much easier for you to choose a winner. Visit this article to see a list of the Top 10 Campaign Aps you can review.

Hashtags are great because you can use multiple hashtags in a single post, so that your post can show up in multiple searches. It’s great for a short post on a fast-paced social media feed like Twitter, or a 2-page evergreen blog post. As an example, Instagram will allow up to 30 hashtags in a post and Instagram users can choose to follow hashtags as well as account users.

For help with developing your own hashtags, there are apps for that too! Sprout Social has a great article that targets hashtags for different social media platforms that you will find helpful.  If you would like more one-on-one help in developing your brand, campaigns, business building strategies, contests, and hashtags, consider having a Think Tank Intensive with Elizabeth McCormick. She can help you #Soar2Success and get you where you need to go faster, and with better results than you ever thought possible! Before you know it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start using #hashtags sooner!

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