Hashtags are just getting bigger and bigger on social media and can be a great way to grow your digital brand. We’ve outlined the best three ways for you to use hashtags to build brand awareness and content creation.
Three Optimal Ways to Use Hashtags
There is a lot of buzz going around concerning hashtags. Younger generations love to use them in just about everything they do, which may have sparked some questions to those of us in the business world.
What are Hashtags?
Simply put, a hashtag is a string of characters that were preceded by a pound sign, #. These are all connected without any spaces.
The collection of characters that you use should have a specific meaning. They are used predominantly on social media because they have the ability to connect posts. When used correctly, the hashtag becomes a clickable link that will lead you to a chronological stream where all the posts with the hashtag can be found.
Hashtags can be valuable for your brand because it is something easily available to you that will get your posts into other streams. This means that your post will be seen by your followers, your friends, and anyone interested in your hashtag.
Using hashtags are a great way to push your posts into additional streams. This means that your content will pass before more eyes and increase your reach.
Just like your posts, hashtags are a numbers game. When you reach more people, it is more probable that you will reach someone who will actually use or refer your brand to someone else.
Hashtags are pretty straightforward, but using them with your brand can trip you up. Hashtags are so easy to use that you can add one to your post without even thinking about it. Bad idea.
Using a Hashtag
Let’s say that your brand deals with running shoes. When you create a post about running shoes you might add #shoes. This may make perfect sense to you, but will actually end up not helping you in any way.
The ultimate goal of the post you created is probably not listed in the hashtag stream for #shoes. This hashtag is also probably so generic that it will already have billions of posts affiliated with it. This means that your chances of having your post discovered are very low. When you consider that 75% of these posts are probably inane or spam, it makes it even harder for you to stand out.
The odds of you being discovered from your own stream are definitely greater than they with being discovered from an already clogged stream. Using an overused hashtag can be a useless exercise.
Three Optimal Ways to Use Hashtags
Before using a hashtag, you need to make sure that you have separated yourself from the crowd.
You should first determine how you want to use the hashtag, then use some straightforward tips for creating your own hashtag. Ultimately, you’ll want to access outside resources to keep ahead of the hashtag trends.
1. In Real Conversation
When you use hashtags on Twitter you create chat panels. When you look at the hashtag stream you’re seeing a subject matter discussion. You can follow and respond to this discussion in real time.
These Twitter discussions are already a popular reason for using hashtags. There have been a number of Twitter chats that have already been built around this concept.
Free programs like TweetChat allow you to leverage the stream. This lets you plan your responses with better efficiency.
These chat streams usually remain active even when chats aren’t scheduled. This means that you can post at all times and gain an advantage.
Using your hashtag in these real-time conversations will make it so that other users are aware of your hashtag and your brand. It will also give you a good idea of who your hashtag would be best received by. You can consider these conversations to be living research and they will give you some much-needed guidance on your hashtag journey.
Now you can tweet your blog posts with the hashtag you’ve been using in a chat and increase your chances of being retweeted and read. You will definitely have a leg up over using a hashtag that you’ve had no interaction with.
2. In a Search
While Twitter does have a search page, you have to understand that it is unfiltered. Searching within hashtag streams will give you access to people who have already self-selected for certain topics. They are usually conveying that they have some level of conscious acknowledgment of skill or expertise in this field, or at the very least that they have some interest.
In this more specified environment, you’re will be more likely to find people who know what they’re talking about. They’ll also be posting information that is more helpful than mainstream Twitter. However, you will have to be willing to sort through some of the excess material. The positive to this is that you’ll already have less frivolous material to search through than you would in a general Twitter search.
Hashtags will let you narrow your search while expanding your brand.
Another positive addition that Twitter has added is their advanced search. You can now search out hashtags being used based on their location. This is perfect for finding locals interested in your brand. You can also search out people mentioning specific accounts. Using this option you can find out what people who like your competitors are hashtagging about.
3. For Conference Participation
We’ve saved the best for last with what is arguably the most effective use of hashtags. Occasionally you will have the option of piggybacking on a popular conference hashtag. This is an excellent way to move your content towards people that you already know have expressed an interest.
Do a little research to find popular hashtags that relate to your brand. This is the time for you to envision how your posts would fit into these topics.
Now, if you’re the one hosting the conference, it is essential that you use hashtags during your presentations. Your participants will like having the hashtag additions because it will allow them to access all the information from the conference later and be able to add their own.
At the beginning of your conference, you can include a slide with your hashtags on it, and you can include these same hashtags on any of your handouts. This also gives you easy access to what your participants are thinking about your conference. People can tweet their impressions, quotes, and pictures that will bring further recognition to your brand.
While hashtags may be used more often for generic labeling, you will be clearly set apart by using these practices rather than following the trends of the masses.
Existing hashtags can be your friend if you know how to select the right ones to use. If you decide to use a hashtag that is too popular, then you’re most likely going to get lost in the stream. If you use a hashtag that isn’t popular enough then no one will see what you posted. It’s usually good to try a few different hashtags to see which ones work best for you.
Using hashtags that are part of a raw stream will be too much for anyone looking for you to process, and the categorization is too generic to be helpful. However, if you choose to use these hashtags it can be an easy way to show your appreciation for your favorite followers.
When doing a hashtag for a promotion, you need to decide whether you want it to actually be a hashtag or just a plain tag. Usually, this means using an @ or a #. The answer to this question may lay in part with whether you’d like to link to the user profile involved or start further discussion on the topic.
You’ll also want to be wary of over-tagging your posts. Avoid using a large number of hashtags, usually three or more. These will reduce the character availability if you’re using Twitter and will limit the amount of natural language found in your posts.
Finally, be consistent. Use the hashtag you’ve chosen on every post in your promotion, not just some of them.
Using hashtags are a great way to source user-generated content. This is the content that people will write that are related to your hashtags that they post with your hashtag included.
It works the best if you can get people to write content specifically with your hashtag in mind. This will spark new conversations and help out your content marketing.
To do this you can capitalize on trendy hashtags that aren’t already overloaded, or you can create, grow, and promote your own. The later will give you the more effective reach that you’re looking for.
Hashtags can be a fun and trendy way to build brand awareness if used correctly. Avoid overused and generic hashtags and focus on creating your own. Hang out in hashtag chats before committing to any hashtags to let you know who is using them and to create a buzz for your brand before you use the hashtag. The biggest thing to remember is to always research a hashtag before using it. This will give you an advantage right away.
What are your favorite hashtags for your brand?