Using #hashtags for your business – The whys and hows.

I assume, that for many, I do not have to explain what a hashtag is and it’s importance within today’s marketing trends and how the correct usage of them can help to build brand awareness online.

A hashtag is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content.Quoted from #Wikipedia.

So why, when and how should you be using them. Where do you start? Can you really build your business with them?

A hashtag can be just as important as your business name, it can lead a trend online and build itself a whole new audience, but in order to be successful using hashtags, you need to follow some simple steps.

  • Great, you are thinking about using a hashtag, just make sure that no-one else is using it! Simply check the hashtag you are thinking about using and search for it on social media making sure you check the most relevant channels as one may be used on Instagram and not on Twitter!
  • Make sure that the hashtag you are using is as relevant as possible to what you want it to explain. Yes, choice is lessening everyday as more and more hashtags are created so it will be unlikely you can lay claim to the likes of #LuxuryProperty or #Architecture or even #A1 as they’ll already be used so you need to dig deep and use your imagination!
  • If you are using a hashtag, think long term as you may wish to use it more than once going forward. Yes, it is great to add to hashtags years ie 2015 / 2016, but you will of course have to change them each year going forward…
  • Try and keep it as short as possible to make sure hashtags are not misspelt and lost in translation. Sometimes it is hard to achieve abbreviated hashtags and sometimes #CharityRunHydePark is better that #CRHP as the longer version hashtag explains what an event is and may encourage new enquiries whereas the abbreviated version may be missed. Shorter is better especially for Twitter when there is a restriction on the amount of characters you can use per tweet.
  • Try and stick to using just one hashtag that you call your own, running more than one will be hard work and may again cause confusion to your followers. Try and keep the same hashtag when using other social media platforms also.
  • Do not overload your social media timelines with your hashtag, be conservative and use when relevant.

The ideal hashtag will be fairly short, explain / sum up what it is referring to and of course, no-one else is using it. You may be lucky and your business name describes exactly what your business offers, ie you are UK Printing Ltd with #UKPrinting or with #ColchesterTaxis and these should be adopted as your hashtags if unused, though think about hashtags that entice conversations and discussions too such as #VoteNoColchester or #AskYourEstateAgent etc.

Christopher Walkey

Founder of Estate Agent Networking. Internationally invited speaker on how to build online target audiences using Social Media. Writes about UK property prices, housing, politics and affordable homes.

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