If you’re more like Kimmy Schmidt than Jimmy Fallon, let us get you acquainted with the #hashtag—a tactic that is far less complicated than you might think. Simply put, hashtags are used to join, start, and catalog online conversations. Exercised wisely by your brand, hashtags can mean increased exposure, engagement, and connections (inevitably leading to better business).
The mainstream hashtag origin story is linked to Chris Messina on Twitter in August 2007; see where it all began and the ensuing conversation here. But the hashtag isn’t just for tweeting; it’s used all over the internet, from Facebook to Instagram to Tumblr, to help organize our massive online worlds.
Click on #cats within any of these platforms, and you’ll have more kitties on your hands than you can deal with. Check out #nptech to get nonprofit technology tips and join the conversation. Use #ThrowbackThursday if you want to share a nugget of your company’s history. Once you get the hang of it, your hashtag possibilities are infinite. With tools like Hashtags.org and Hashtagify, you can research which hashtags are popular, compare hashtags to one another, and track analytics.
In addition to anytime categorization, using hashtags to host and follow Twitter chats is a popular strategy. This entails a group of Twitter users meeting at a pre-determined time to discuss a particular topic, accompanying their tweets with the official hashtag. For example, #SEOchat meets at 1 p.m. on Thursday to discuss hot topics in search engine optimization. What’s a chat topic that your brand might be fit to host? What do you specialize in that would interest a larger community?
Despite their popularity and relative ease of usage, hashtags aren’t fool-proof. Excessive and/or irrelevant hashtagging #is #very #annoying #and #unproductive, as are #extremelylonghashtagsthataredifficulttoread.
Before you start using hashtags in your brand’s social media posts, consider your audience, do your research on existing conversations, and don’t be afraid to experiment until you find what feels right (and gets results) for your brand. For help discovering your business’ social media sweet spots, get in touch with Jon Bird Media.