If you’re somewhat new to the world of social media, you may be a bit confused by all of the hashtagging you see going on. Actually, you may not even really understand what hashtagging is! In a nutshell, a hashtag is a word or a phrase prefixed with the # symbol. The purpose of doing this in the social media world is to easily group related messages together. This makes it simple for you to search by a word or phrase that you are looking for and return many related results.
In our modern social media driven world, hashtags have been spreading across the Internet like wildfire. First introduced on Twitter, they are now used on several sites, such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Mastering the art of the hashtag is becoming more and more important for your business’s online presence. Below you’ll find a few tips for getting comfortable with the trend.
1. Know the Rules
Although it might seem easy to simply put a # symbol before a word and call it a day, it actually takes a little more thought than that.
When typing a phrase, you aren’t able to use spaces. If you need to distinguish between words, use capitalization rather than an actual space. Also, you can use numbers, but no punctuation marks. And when on Twitter, using a hashtag won’t directly tweet someone – you must use the @ symbol for that function.
2. Get Creative
There is no specific guideline for what can or cannot be a hashtag. Just about any word or phrase would work, as long as you follow the above rules. You can keep things basic and use your business name or something trending in your industry, which may allow you to begin a conversation with others searching for you online. But you can also have a little fun with things, too. Many times, people don’t use a hashtag for something that will actually be searched, but rather to add humor to what they are saying. If you can come up with a really creative and fun hashtag, there’s a chance that it could catch on and draw attention to your brand.
3. Follow the Trends
On many social sites, you can now see what is “trending”. By staying aware of what’s popular in the world of social media and using that to your advantage, you can gain a lot of exposure that you may not see otherwise.
If, for example, it’s National Love Your Pet Day, post an adorable photo of your pet and use the hashtag #nationalloveyourpetday. By doing this, your company’s profile is essentially joining a conversation with thousands, possibly millions, of other users. If anyone searches by the hashtag #nationalloveyourpetday, your photo and your profile have the potential of showing up. Of course you may not see the relevance of posting about your pet, but one of the major benefits of using social media for your business is to put a humanized twist on all that you do. While you’re not directly promoting your business, you’re letting potential buyers see a new side of you that may in turn result in new leads.
4. Listen and Learn
There’s a good chance you aren’t the only one in your industry utilizing hashtags. A great way to stay involved and up to date with what’s going on in your particular industry, or with businesses of your size in general, is to follow hashtags of interest to you as a business.
For example, if you are a small business, you might search by the hashtag #smallbiz. By searching by this specific hashtag you will find a steady stream of information, resources and news for small businesses. Your specific industry likely has a hashtag or two where people congregate and talk shop. By following along, you allow yourself not only to learn, but also to contribute to the conversation. You may have something to say that others find value in, which is the first step in establishing yourself as a leader in the industry.
Hashtagging is not only a fun and creative way to take advantage of all that social media has to offer, but it also can be incredibly valuable to your business in more ways than one. The best way to get started is to keep the above advice in mind, and then jump in and join the conversation!