Let’s Hash(tag) it Out

By Carmen Reed-Gilkison | Strategy

Sep 03

What's the deal with hashtags anyway?

I remember when that symbol only showed up on the telephone and was known as the pound sign. I can travel farther back in my memories to when they were the tic tac toe boards I played on as a child.

Today's hashtags hold more power than their ancestors (okay, now I feel old).

Hashtags are a powerful search tool. For instance, if you have a pizza shop, using "#pizza" will help people find you when they are searching for pizza.

I like to think of hashtags as magnets.

Using the right hashtag in your posts will help you attract your ideal customers. If that doesn't compel you to start using them I don't know what will.

If learning to use the tic tac toe board for social media marketing isn't enough, correct hashtag use varies on each social platform.

Yep, there are always more rules, and things to remember aren't there?

Can't the social platforms all get together and create a "Standard Operating Procedures" rule book that works across the internet?

That would be helpful.

There may not be a universal SOP to refer to, but they do provide guidance on their "help" forums:

I've got some tips of my own:

  • Create a branded hashtag for your business: I use #locallyrocks in almost all my Instagram posts - why? So people start seeing it. When it's clicked, people arrive at the #locallyrocks hashtag page and see all my posts. From there, they can find my page. 
  • Create a hashtag log of all potential hashtags that relate to your industry, or your business: On Instagram, you're allowed to use 30 hashtags per post, so get to brainstorming! Highlight the top two that you can use on all platforms; add the other 28 to all Instagram posts.
  • Stay relevant: To get the most traction from a hashtag you want to use what's relevant to your business. For example, I use #smallbusinessowner, #smallbusiness, #entrepreneur, #retail, #restaurant, #salon to attract the types of business owners I am trying to connect with. During holidays there will be trending hashtags you can take advantage of. Instagram will start to auto-populate the hashtag as you type and you'll get to see what is popular that way.
  • Use a hashtag tool: To research the popularity of hashtags, you can use a tool such as Hashtags.org. They have a handy search bar at the top of the page that you can put any hashtag in to find out its popularity. Pretty cool!

So, there you have it! We've hash(tagged) it out! I hope you find and get found using the powerful little hashtag.

If you have any questions, post them in the comments below. Happy hashtagging! 

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