A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#) and is used on certain social media platforms to identify messages on a specific topic. This is to help people who are interested in a certain topic quickly find content relating to the topic without going through any hustle.
Hashtags give the general public the opportunity to express their views on a particular topic. It also gives them by the minute updates of any event linked to a hashtag. A lot of social media savvies use hashtags just for the fun of it. Meanwhile, business marketers have also figured out a way to use hashtags to help them market their brands and products. This we will elaborate further as we go along.
HOW TO CREATE AND USE A HASHTAG.
Creating a hashtag isn’t something to worry about. It’s as easy as turning ABC. Anyone can create a hashtag. All you need is to think about the kind of hashtag you want to create. A hashtag always starts with the symbol (#) and then followed by the words, phrase or numbers you want to use.
For example, #Sidekickgh or #InboundMarketing. All words or phrases used in hashtags are not spaced. Spacing them prevents them from being hashtags. The only symbol accepted in a hashtag is the symbol (#). No other punctuation marks are allowed when creating a hashtag.
A hashtag needs to be short and simple especially on platforms such as Twitter where you have limited characters to play with. Hashtags that are too long or too hard to pronounce will be difficult for people to use. Using too many hashtags in a message makes reading difficult.
This is called hashtag pollution. The preferred number of hashtags required in a single message is two. Always make sure that your content relates to the hashtag you use. You cannot tweet about inbound marketing and add #MedicineforLove just because it is trending. You might be reported for being a spammer.
SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS THAT MAKE USE OF HASHTAGS
There are a lot of social media platforms available. Despite this, a lot more are released into the system on daily basis. Hashtags are used on most of these social media platforms for various purposes.
Twitter: [Tweet “One can say Twitter is the mother of all hashtags.”] This is because; hashtags on twitter are more versatile and powerful than other social media platforms. Twitter hashtags are used to specify conversation topics. The Trends sidebar on twitter gives you a list of top hashtags you can be interested in according to your location and also preference.
Facebook: Hashtags on Facebook were added in June 2013 but hasn’t been well recognized and utilized by users. That aside, clicking on a Facebook hashtag will lead you to a list of posts that contain the same hashtag.
Instagram: This is one of the social media platforms Ghanaians have grown to love and use to their maximum best. Hashtags can be added to images when posting on Instagram. As a result, anyone who clicks the hashtag will be given a collection of pictures with that hashtag. Instagram hashtags are also used for photo challenges such as #ThrowbackThursday which allows uses post images from the past.
Google+: When a hashtag is clicked on Google+, it gives you the original hashtag together with other posts with the same hashtag. Google also gives you the option to search for further results of a particular hashtag on Facebook and Twitter.
HASHTAG FOR BUSINESS MARKETING
In recent times, many great brands have joined the social media craze in a bid to reach their many clients. This is because customers of such brands spend majority of their time on social media platforms. This has given these brands no option than to create Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and social media accounts. We will therefore look at various ways of using hashtags to help market your business.
- Use relevant hashtags: Before choosing a hashtag to market your business with, make sure it is in relation to the kind of service your business renders. You can find out what hashtags your competitors are using to help inform you choose a better hashtag. For instance if you are promoting digital marketing, you can create a hashtag such as #DigitalMarketing. Therefore when users search for these keywords, your name will pop up.
- Follow the latest trends: Sometimes you just have to go with the wind. Find out which hashtags are top trends and if they are relevant to your business, use them. Using a trending hashtag that has nothing to do with your brand will make you lose your credibility. This is because clients will see you as spam who is craving attention.
- Create your own hashtag: Just in case you cannot flow with the trending hashtag because it does not relate to your brand, create your own. Before creating your hashtag, make sure such hashtag has not been used before. You can also use your hashtag in promotional materials.
- Generate buzz: Creating a hashtag about your business will make people talk about it for a long time hence creating a buzz around your brand. This will even more engaging when customers have in mind that they tend to win a prize for using the hashtag.
- Keep it simple: A simple hashtag is easy to remember and use. Keeping your hashtag simple will make clients use it the more since they can easily remember it.
If you haven’t used hashtags in your business then we suggest you start now. If you have, we would like to know how you went about it in the comments below.