The Entrepreneur’s Beginner’s Guide to Hashtags
How a few words can increase engagement on social media
I’m sure you’ve noticed that there is no shortage of techniques and tips for social media.
But have you also noticed that most of those tips focus on general information, such as how to get more followers or likes, or how to post engaging content to engage your users?
Those resources are important, but I find that hashtags are sometimes forgotten.
They are rarely mentioned in marketing articles, but they are a great tool for building your brand, raising awareness about marketing campaigns, and engaging / entertaining your audience.
How do hashtags work?
If you’re new to social media, I know it can seem overwhelming.
You may have seen these words with the # in front of them on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. (The hashtag actually started in 2007, when Twitter started using it to index keywords and make them easier to search.)
But what are these words supposed to do? Should you use them? Why are they seemingly random?
I’ve put together this guide to help you understand how to use hashtags (and what the heck are they!) So you can increase engagement and leads on social media.
Think of hashtags as a way to categorize your content.
Ultimately, they help people find and share posts on a specific topic.
When you create your social media post, you take a word or words and put the pound sign (#) in front of it. If you use two words, do not put a space between them. Now, the phrase can be clicked and searched on the social media platform the user is on.
Choose the right hashtags
When done correctly, these tags can help you get more exposure for your business and increase engagement on social media. But like any social media strategy, you need to do your research and think before posting.
I will facilitate this process for you. Here are 7 ways to start choosing the right hashtags:
1. Create them for events.
This is one of the best ways to increase excitement and engagement on your social media accounts. For example, the Cornucopia Wine Festival in Whistler shared many posts on their Twitter and Instagram accounts with the hashtag # Cornucopia2019, as did their followers and attendees.
2. Tag famous people or big brands.
Take a look at the trends on Twitter and try to incorporate it into your posts; but only if it is relevant. People will know if you are trying to force it or if you are fake.
Examples include major sporting events, musician record releases, parties, and popular books. If someone who is famous in your industry makes the news, you can use that tag in one of your posts.
3. Do your research.
Whether you’re researching the latest news for the upcoming Canadian federal elections or the hockey playoffs, you can do a hashtag search to find various posts on the subject.
Searching for tags on social media platforms can be a perfect way to find new ideas and spy on your competition.
A great resource for searching for popular hashtags is https://hashtagify.me/hashtag/tbt
4. Encourage sharing.
The more people share your hashtag and use it in their posts, the more exposure, engagement, and traffic you’ll get.
You may remember the #ShareACoke campaign. The company changed its iconic logo on 20-ounce bottles, replacing it with 250 of the most popular American names.
It was one of their most successful campaigns, spawning a 2% increase in soda sales and huge engagement on social media as followers shared cans and bottles with their names on.
5. Convert a tag into a campaign.
Many users “monitor” certain words, so constantly focusing on one can help you gain a following.
For example, you could create a multi-post campaign about a specific product you’re offering or a holiday promotion you’re running.
6. Find some topics from weekly posts.
This is a simple way to link a trend tag to your business.
Some common topics include #throwbackthursday, where people post anything from past vacation photos to high school graduation photos; and #wisdomwed Wednesday, where they share their advice on all kinds of topics.
I use #MotivationMonday and #TuesdayTip on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels and often mix other popular hashtags for optimal exposure.
7. Use humor.
People love to share fun things with others, whether it’s a trending meme or a relatable story. Here’s a hashtag late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon came up with for people to share: #MyWorstCostume.
By understanding which hashtags will resonate with your target audience, you can access a whole world of people who are searching for exactly what you are offering. So start brainstorming and researching how to add some fun and functional tags to your next post!
Need help with the hashtag? We’ve created an entire social media division for entrepreneurs and small business owners who understand the importance of having a social media strategy but just don’t have the time to make it happen on their own. Let’s connect.