A hashtag is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the number sign (“#”). Hashtags make it possible to group messages on a related topic, since one can search for the hashtag and get the set of messages that contain it.
Hashtags are used on social media platforms and can help you find a conversation to join about whatever topic you are interested in. Hashtags are a great way to help get your brand known and find new followers.
Let’s say you are selling NBA jerseys and fan paraphernalia and you want to find people that would be interested in your offerings. You can do research but off the top of my head, I would think that #NBA and #NBAPlayoffs would be popular hashtags that are getting a lot of action. I would guess each team probably has trending hashtags as well as specific players. So you start adding those hashtags to your posts, to join the conversation.
Be careful – you can’t bulldoze your way into a conversation with a bunch of sales messages or you will turn people off. The idea is you join the convo and contribute valuable tips and advice. When you build up your cred, people are more likely to check you out and see your offers and also be open to some offers that you do end up putting out with the hashtags appended.
The idea is to gain exposure and visibility so people think of you when they think of NBA discussions and games.
While hashtags are very simple, you do need to follow some tips and guidelines to ensure you get maximum benefit:
- Don’t use too many tags: 3 per post is more than enough.
- Use capital letters when necessary. Hashtags aren’t case-sensitive, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the message clear to your followers.
- Jump on trends if they’re relevant to your brand. Trending topics like #TBT and others. If you see a trend that could benefit your brand, don’t be afraid to jump on it –as long as you research it first.
- Recognize that hashtags are experiments. Be sure you track your results so you know what does and doesn’t work.
- Before implementing your own branded hashtag, think about being transparent without necessarily including your brand name, as this can discourage people from participating, as well as give brand haters more motivation to upend the hashtag’s meaning. Generic hashtags like Nike’s #makeitcount have more creative potential both for the brand & consumers. Your hashtag should be informative & concise rather than conceptual. Don’t make consumers think too hard.
- Promote hashtags by incorporating into other marketing channels