Many businesses nowadays are being launched and run successfully on social media. The fact that social media is free is really helping new business start ups to find brand awareness, feedback and new clients for their businesses whereas only a few years back, marketing budgets would be needed to pay to advertise in the local newspapers, Yellow Pages or canvassing etc.
As social media evolves and more and more of us use it for not only social reasons, but to engage with businesses and purchase products and services, the importance of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and similar platforms increases. One big part of social media that readers should really study and try and find success in is #Hashtags.
What exactly is a hashtag in social media? Quite simply, they are a way for other social media users to find posts with keywords they are looking for, tagging your keywords with hashtags make them easier for social networks to organize them and place them within search results.
So how can a simple hashtag drive you business? Can a clever bit of marketing using hashtags infact build you a business? I think we can say yes to this as it is already happening across social media with many examples where business owners are gaining high volumes of web traffic and interactions after having created their own hashtag and seeing it go viral. Yes, it is important to have a good social media account, well named and designed with great content shared on a regular basis, but how can you increase your chances of success? Hashtags…
An example of hashtags being used include:
- We offer #website building and #SEO services to UK businesses.
- Do not forget that every Friday 7-8pm is #UKWebsiteHour – Your chance to ask us questions regarding your business #website.
- We are the UK’s leading supplier of #website #templates. Contact us today or use #LoveMyWebsite and we’ll give you a free quote!
To obtain your new hashtag you will need to firstly make sure it isn’t already being used so check both the platform you wish to use it on as well as others too. You will not be able to trademark your hashtag, or if you can it will cost you a lot to do so and can still be open to be copied – But if you have a strong presence on social media and a healthy and active following, then any hashtag you release you will be recognised for even if others re-use it. I have several hashtags running myself and they are regularly used and in most cases, those using it will know it originates from one of my accounts and they’ll even include my account name in their update. If you can, secure the hashtag account username, for example on Twitter I created #ColchesterHour a couple of years back and to re-confirm I owned the hashtag, I also created an account on Twitter called @ColchesterHour. Also, use the hashtag on your account profile information and state you are the founder of it. If someone else does use your hashtag or adopts it, then approach them to let them know you have been using it for longer and started it off, they may in turn prefer to have their own unique hahstag so will accept what you say and not re-use it.
A hashtag is a very powerful tool and many businesses use them within their advertising, especially Twitter where we see the likes of television shows sharing them to entice the public to use them in their updates and to follow the conversations. Britain’s Got Talent uses the hashtag #BGT and during the show people will generally tweet using it so that you form part of a unique conversation where others can search the trending hashtag and potentially come past your tweet to comment on – At times the show themselves or celebrities will also comment on these tweets using the show’s hashtag, without the hashtag then your tweet is likely to be only falling on the eyes of your followers…
If you are clever with hashtags, find the right one for your business and use it correctly to appeal to your target audience, then you could find that the strength of it’s reach will help to build your business on social media. For myself, hashtag hours work great and generally 100’s if not more will get involved, though highlighting the services and products they offer primarily, they will nonetheless be aware that my own company created the hashtag so will likely follow us or contact us should the service we offer appeal to them.
Do a check on the social media platform you use to see what hashtags are about or a simple check on Google re ‘popular hashtags’ will give you some results to get on with. Try and keep your hashtag as short as possible, especially on Twitter, so that it doesn’t take up too much of your update or other users find it too much hassle to type it in.
Author: Christopher Walkey
Founder of Estate Agent Networking and an internationally invited speaker on how to build online target audiences using Twitter and LinkedIn.