That is the question
It was familiar, it’s still right there on our telephones, trusty and recognizable – “Please enter your date of birth followed by the pound sign ….”
Nowadays a whole generation will have to translate in their heads “Oh .. by pound sign they mean hashtag”, because for every time you see or use the ‘pound’ sign (#) you will see the same symbol followed by keywords or catchy phrases as hashtags, ubiquitous on social media platforms like twitter, facebook, instagram, google+ and pinterest.
So should you pay attention?
The answer (whether you are still denying their meteoric rise or not) is yes. Their popularity shows no sign of slowing down and even if you weren’t jumping onto a ‘popularity’ bandwagon, they work as an effective tool in marketing. The seemingly fickle # can:
- help you connect with other vendors in the same arena
- help you find new customers
- bring your brand to a wider audience
- get you marketing exposure
- give your social media campaign credibility
- help you keep pace with competitors who are leveraging the #’s reach
Even more food for thought:
- It’s free
- It takes time to discover what works best for your brand, so the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll find out what works for you and how much time and effort is worth investing – every product or service provider has a different niche and it would be naive to suggest that everyone would benefit equally.
- If your sector or brand name are not already popular in the world of #s and their search results, you can ‘claim’ them now and make them work for you. If someone else has a very similar name or is already using hashtags which would fit your campaign, it will be harder to join that established forum, whereas a savvy marketing campaign starting from scratch would look to set up something unique.
- What works on one platform works on another – not only does this make your hashtag strategy easier, it reinforces your branding and helps pass your message consistently across your social media platforms.
10 Tips on becoming a successful #er
- Don’t focus so much on the hashtags that you lose the focus of your message. Describe your post or picture and then apply hashtags that are appropriate to that particular post rather than your brand in general. When you have diverse posts the selection will automatically find the right audience. For example, if you sell tiaras and anklets, you may always #jewelry (which has over 25 million posts on instagram so far) but then only use #anklet on specific anklet pictures – don’t have a standard list you always use like #jewelry #anklets #tiaras #everythingelseIsell as viewers who don’t find what they expect are less likely to trust your brand.
- Switch it up! If you use the same set of hashtags on every post, you will be reaching the same audience each time. For the people who have already found you, they have the option to ‘follow’ you if they want to see more. Your goal in marketing is to reach new potential customers and impress them enough to be noticed.
- Do use your brand – # your business name if possible and you can reinforce that by adding your business name to the post as floating text or in a text bubble.
- Don’t be afraid of the #. The limit on instagram is 30 #s but rarely does anyone go anywhere near that limit. If you’re creative, you should be able to get your brand and everything you want to promote with 3-8 hashtags.
- Don’t make them too long. #ItsHardForYourAudienceToPayAttentionIfItGetsRidiculous
- Learn what works for you. Look at the success of your posts and tweak future posts to explore that direction. It isn’t a popularity contest. Success here doesn’t mean the number of ‘likes’. A post with less likes but a solid lead which you can convert to a dialogue is worth more.
- Look at how your competitors are leveraging hashtags to give you ideas – don’t copy but instead let that inspire you to find your own social media identity.
- Have fun. Humor can be used effectively by almost every business.
- If you are a local business reliant on local customers, use your location as a hashtag as your customer base may well be searching to support local business interests.
- If you don’t know where to start, look to your SEO keywords as a great launching pad.
You are the expert in your business, if you want to launch an effective social media campaign, let us help you with a plan. Contact us today firstname.lastname@example.org