Hashtags are everywhere you look these days - on social media posts, billboards, commercials, and even the occasional t-shirt! We're all accustomed to having hashtags thrown at us left and right, but not everybody understands exactly what they are or how to use them.
What are hashtags?
A hashtag is a label that describes a photo, video, text post, or another type of content. You can use a hashtag to caption your content on a social media platform and help other users find that post.
Hashtags are a popular tool on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and other leading social media platforms.
Hashtags begin with the number or pound sign (#) and are followed by a word or short phrase that is relevant to your content. You can include hashtags within the text of your caption, or group them at the end of the main copy. There are no spaces allowed in a hashtag, so the text following the # sign must be consolidated into one piece of text.
How do they function?
Users of social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter can search specific hashtags to find content that interests them. Conversely, users can caption their posts with hashtags to be discovered by other users with similar interests.
In essence, hashtags are a way for users to connect with one another and find the types of content in their areas of interest.
How can a business use hashtags?
A business can benefit from using hashtags because it allows people to discover their content - one of the primary goals of social media marketing! You can select fun, relevant hashtags to increase the number of people your post reaches and drive engagement.
There are many strategies for using hashtags to promote your business online, and every brand has their own unique strategy that works for them. Whew, okay we got the details out of the way now we are going to discuss a few tips & tricks to help develop a hashtag strategy for your business today!
1) Make a list of relevant hashtags for your industry
It's important to know what hashtags are relevant to your industry. Take the time to brainstorm a list of 10-20 hashtags that are relevant to the type of content you will be posting.
Some of these hashtags should be short and basic (like #coffee or #gourmet), and some of them should be specific and unique (like #caffeineaddict or #mondaymorningcoffee)
You can choose from this list of hashtags when you're captioning your social media posts. Just remember not to use TOO many hashtags and make sure the main copy/hashtag ratio is balanced.
2) Create a branded hashtag campaign
Using a brand-specific hashtag is a great way to drive fan engagement, encourage user-submitted content, and promote your brand.
A great example of this is Coca-Cola's #ShareaCoke campaign. Users would take a photo with a bottle of Coca-Cola with their name on it and share the photo on social media with the #ShareaCoke hashtag.
This campaign resulted in over 76,000 user-submitted photos taken with Coca-Cola's products!
3) Hold a social media contest featuring a hashtag
Contests are a great tool to promote your brand online. You can encourage users to submit photos or other types of content that include a specific hashtag relevant to your brand.
A great example of this is when Audi launched their #WantanR8 campaign. Users were encouraged to tweet the reasons they would like to drive an Audi R8 and include the #WantanR8 hashtag. The winner got to rent an Audi R8 for a weekend.
This campaign was one of the most successful hashtag campaigns of all time - and they didn't even need to give away a car (just borrow one for a few days)!
Every brand is unique and deserves some serious thought when developing a hashtag strategy. We hope this article helped you understand hashtags and how to use them to help people discover your content on whatever social media platforms your brand uses. What hashtag strategies do you use for YOUR brand?
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