If you don’t quite get how hashtags work or how you can make use of them, don’t feel too bad. For those of you who have avoided using hashtags, they’re not scary at all. They can be fantastic tools for marketing, SEO and, especially, branding. Most people associate hashtags with Twitter only, and reasonably so, since that’s where the whole hashtag boom began. However, hashtags have spread to other social media platforms.
If you want to build your brand, add another tool to your marketing toolbox or just expand your social media audience, you too can join the uber-trendy world of hashtagging in the following social media platforms.
Example of a hashtag
— Brandignity (@Brandignty) January 2, 2013
Twitter is certainly where hashtags are used the most, and is the best place to start if you’re new at it. There will be a bigger audience response for hashtagging in your posts as well, and it may be easier to get them to catch on, compared to hashtagging in other social media platforms.
Twitter is also inherently more compatible with hashtags, providing options like All, Top, or People You Follow to filter results. It also displays trending hashtags The results are filtered for “all,” so they even display foreign language Tweets, and as usual, results are in real time.
Always research any hashtag you create for introducing a new product, service, article, content or whatever you’re trying to promote. Using a hashtag that has already been used can have disastrous results, like linking your brand to a totally irrelevant discussion. You can definitely use existing hashtags that align with your marketing goals or SEO in your posts, but for your own hashtags, be sure to thoroughly search for possible duplicates before applying it to your brand or promotion.
Hashtags are new to Facebook, but this actually provides an advantage, especially for broadening your brand and brand voice. Since hashtags are new to Facebook, it allows them to stand out more. However, use caution, because there are reportedly some Facebookers who get kind of grouchy about it for some reason.
People use hashtags in the search option to see and join conversations, such as niche interests. By using a hashtag in your post, you can reach an audience who would otherwise never see your posts. For example, 12 Keys Best Rehab, a treatment center in Florida, connects with new audiences by sharing a #MotivationalMonday quote each week.
One of the best and most unique advantages of using hashtags on Facebook is that you can track the results and progress with Facebook Insights.
Marketers and business owners should use hashtags in Google+ whenever possible. This is because search results for hashtag links are displayed for both search results that include or are similar to that hashtag as well as search results from within Google+. This provides huge potential for expanding visibility, building your brand and expanding your market reach.
Instagram is a great social media platform for contests and building your market reach. Using a hashtag for photo contests allows entries to be seen by all participants. In doing so, you’ll make it much easier for your followers to share with their networks and acquire more followers.
Instagram hashtags are also great for connecting with your target market. Figure out what interests your potential customers, and then use the same hashtags they’re using. For example, a company that makes pet washes might connect with pet owners using the immensely popular hashtags #cat, #dog, #catsofinstagram, and #dogsofinstagram.
Remember to do you research before creating hashtags. Always keep it short and memorable, and if you use hashtags in a clever, shareable way, you might be surprised just how well they catch on – and what awesome promotional tools they can be.
Adrienne is a freelance writer and designer obsessed with social media. You can follow @adrienneerin on Twitter to get in touch or visit her http://designroast.org/.