A Beginner’s Guide to Hashtag Marketing
We see hashtags all the time, on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. But did you know businesses can implement hashtag marketing in to their strategy to boost their posts, raise brand awareness and encourage engagement?
Whilst hashtags are everywhere on Social Media, businesses need to know how to use them strategically. Hashtag marketing is straight forward and easy to do if you know how to use them properly.
What is a Hashtag?
A hashtag is a word or phrases led by a hash sign, #. If you want to be technical, they’re a meta-data tag that can organize posts by topic. The topic is the hashtag, for example; #Marketing #SEO #Manchester
Businesses can use hashtag marketing in several different ways; in this article we will be exploring the different hashtag marketing strategies.
How to Use Hashtag Marketing in Business
Building Your Brand Name
Businesses can encourage brand recognition by using their company name in a hashtag, for example #DifferentGravy. Branded hashtags are a simple way for consumers to find your posts.
You could encourage users to use your branded hashtag to ask questions, share opinions and join in conversations.
Your unique hashtag could become recognisable across social media, like KitKat’s #HaveABreak.
You could use hashtags relating to your industry, so your content reaches your target audience. By using industry related hashtags, you can increase your exposure to the right people.
For example, a restaurant in Manchester could use the hashtag #Manchester as an area-tag to increase the chances of people in and around Manchester being exposed to their post.
It works both ways; yes, your company is creating content that you want engagement from, but customers are also sharing posts that you can engage with too.
Take an interest in your target audiences conversations. For example, if you’re a solicitor you could look at ways to join in conversations by looking at industry related hashtags, for example;
It’s worth mentioning that there is a downside; hashtags are global … You can look at hashtags relating to your industry to offer your services, but the poster could be at the opposite side of the world. Nethertheless, showing an interest in topics relating to your industry demonstrates your trustworthy and genuinely interested in your audience.
Joining hashtag conversations also gives you an opportunity to share some of your own content, perhaps blog posts, to encourage engagement and attract new customers.
CTA – Call-to-Action
Consider using a CTA in your hashtag to encourage conversions and sales.
Also, if you want your posts to reach a wide audience you can ask customers to re-post and share your content.
Think of Coca-Cola’s campaign #ShareACoke, it’s straight the point and succinct. Their hashtag had the purpose of encouraging people to share Coke as a way of building connections.
Trending hashtags are an excellent way to get your business involved with what’s circling around Social Media. Your business will be in front of more people, and you’ll be showing an interest in the world around you. Since they’re trending hashtags, its likely your target audience will scroll down them too and come across your post.
As a business, it’s great to be involved and an active part of a community. Show your business is interested in current topics and not afraid to share their opinions.
Quick Tip: Do Your Research
However, don’t let a hashtag destroy your reputation. When using a hashtag, your comments should be related to the hashtag’s topic. Don’t use a trending hashtag to promote your own brand if it has nothing to do with your industry.
Think back to 2014 when DiGiorno Pizza used the trending hashtag #WhyIStayed (relating to domestic violence) to promote their business. It was disrespectful and showed a clear lack of understanding the context of a hashtag.
The Bottom Line
Hashtag marketing will increase your visibility, increase engagement and will expand the reach of your content. Try using hashtags in your own social media posts and see how they work for you. But before you do remember …
- Don’t spam! Don’t try to hard, using too many hashtags could look ‘salesy’
- Do your research – don’t be the next DiGiorno Pizza
- Look at what hashtags your audience are using; try to get involved
- Monitor the hashtags your competitors are using; are they getting engagement?
Why not check out our Digital Marketing Terms Glossary?
About the author:
Marie Harwood is a Digital Marketing Assistant at Different Gravy Digital, Hale, Cheshire.
Different Gravy Digital are a full service Digital Marketing Agency operating in the Hospitality & Leisure, Financial Services, Legal & Property sectors. Products and services range from; 3D & 360° Tours, Website Design & Build, Social Media, Video Production, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Content Creation, Email Marketing, Online Feedback / Review Systems and Paid Advertising (Google, Bing and Social Media).
0161 706 0004
120a Ashley Road, Hale, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 2UN