Your guide to hashtags: Why you need them (and how to use them effectively)

Nov 18, 2014 by
Your guide to hashtags: Why you need them (and how to use them effectively)

You may be rolling your eyes right now – after all, everyone knows what a hashtag is, right? While the concept is indeed basic, most people get it wrong.

HashtagJust have a trawl through your Facebook and Twitter profiles and you’ll see your feed inundated with tags that are irrelevant and pointless. Oftentimes, business owners don’t even bother to use them, discarding them as gimmicks reserved for excitable teens.

But ignoring hashtags is a mistake, and you could be leaving plenty of money on the table because of it. In this guide, we’ll explore all of the reasons why you need hashtags for your business. We’ll also add in a few strategies that will help to give you an edge over your competition.

Why hashtags are necessary

So, if you haven’t yet joined the hashtag revolution, let’s start by convincing you of their use. The statistics should be enough to get you to join the movement: tweets that employ hashtags have been shown to generate twice as much engagement than those that don’t, but that’s just the start.

Hashtags also simplify the process of sifting through information. New visitors will easily be able to access relevant content on your profile, meaning they’re much more likely to relate with you’ve got to say. It also gives you a platform to build targeted leads, as those that find you through hashtags are already interested in your niche.

You should also bear in mind that hashtags have become an expectation for businesses. In the digital era when adoption of social media is at anall time high, if you aren’t implementing hashtags then you’re behind the times. Hashtags demonstrate that you’re providing relevant content, are consistent in your tagging, and are serious about reaching the right demographics with your content.

In the words of content marketing specialist Belle Beth Cooper:

“Hashtags often connect a tweet to a particular topic or Twitter chat that others are following or interested in. Keep appropriate hashtags in mind when posting, especially if engagement is something you’re looking to improve.”

How to leverage the power of hashtags

Now that you’re (hopefully) on-board with the advantages of hashtags, it’s time to take action. Here are five key scenarios which are ideal for the utilisation of hashtags.

  • Special offers, sales, contests, and promotions – whenever you publish something that has a clear incentive for your followers, make sure that a relevant hashtag has been added.
  • Educating your audience – whenever you tweet something that is truly epic and worth sharing far and wide, add a hashtag before you hit publish.
  • Events – want to promote your new event? People often find events off the back of other events within the the same niche. Hashtags tie them all together.
  • News – if you are the type that always has the latest news on offer, make sure you follow those trends by adding relevant hashtags as well. Whenever a big juicy piece of news for your industry breaks, you’ll be one of the ones coming up in the search results.
  • Advocacy – any tweets pertaining to a charitable cause should be bundled with a hashtag. Make people aware of your altruism and support for charitable causes.

And when you add those tags, make sure you spend a little bit of time thinking about what’s appropriate. Don’t just bombard your twitter feed with irrelevant or general hashtags which don’t make sense. Try and stick to the following rules:

  • Concise and relevant – short and sweet is the key here. If there is already an existing hashtag for your niche, use it.
  • Upbeat and conversational – anything dry and boring should be tossed out the window.
  • Unique – tick to your specific topic because general/vague hashtags simply won’t be found.

Hashtags are an excellent tool for generating interest in your content. They’re easy to implement, the benefits are numerous and the ROI is exceptional. So long as you remember to keep your hashtags relevant and appropriate, and avoid making things too convoluted, hashtags can be a valuable addition to your digital marketing strategy.

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