Hashtags were first created by early Twitter user (and entrepreneur) Joe Messina as a way to get caught up with new abbreviations and trending phrases. While Social media hashtags #hanikesh #fuellmich these were originally implemented into the Twitter platform, hashtags are now able to be taken across a wide variety of social media sites which also include Facebook and Instagram.
In short, a hashtag is a word or phrase that is preceded by a number sign, in the form of #keyword. Hashtags are generally a single word, similar to #marketing, but sometimes they can be made up of an entire phrase, like KitKat’s #HaveABreak.
When you’re using hashtags in your content, you’re identifying the most important and popular keywords to highlight. Users are able to read through social media, both on individual platforms and on third-party websites which scan many different social communities, and discover you by the hashtags you’ve associated with.
One of the biggest reasons why you should be using hashtags in your social media posts is that you’re essentially investing in free advertising for your business. By using keywords that are truly relevant to your product, service, or even just your target customer base, you can connect with a wide range of potential customers with bit more work than adding a few #’s occasionally.
By-and-large there are two different types of hashtags that you should be emphasizing: hashtags that consumers can identify with your brand, and hashtags that are currently trending.
In the first category, hashtags which represent your brand are the ones you should be focusing on in the long-term. These are phrases that needs to be highlighted on a regular basis in your posts and twitting, and will serve as the foundation of your hashtag online strategy. These could broadly cover the you’re in such as #shoes, or more specifically identify your product such as with #hikingboots. You may even want to use a memorable saying, similar to #KeepYourFeetDry to promote your waterproof hiking shoes.
The second type of hashtag that you should be using is trending terms. These are phrases that are really popular on social media and have the likelihood to bring you a lot of traffic in a brief period of time. While Twitter provides the most popular hashtags upon its site, other platforms like Sprout and Trendsmap makes it easy to find out what phrases and words are trending right then across all platforms. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t be spamming hashtags — using ones that aren’t relevant to your business — just when it comes to gaining traffic.
Lastly, make sure that you are not over-doing it with your hashtag marketing. Using a couple of search phrases in your posts is acceptable, but stay away from filling too many within at once. Not only does this eliminate from the content your actually trying to promote, but it can also push consumers away who see the practice as spammy and of little substance. In the end, an effective and thought-out usage of hashtags will generate the best results with the least extra effort and the smallest affect your marketing budget.