Social media has evolved so much in the past few years that it is hard to believe that it has been around for so long. In fact, the hashtag – also known as the pound sign for those of us that originally started using it – was first used in August 2007. Social technology expert Chris Messina holds the honor of being the first to use a hashtag on Twitter. What was his message you ask?
?how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]??
Messina used the hashtag with the purpose of creating a central online place where discussion regarding Barcamp, a technology un-conference that is known worldwide. After that first tweet, hashtags took off. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat caught on to the hashtag craze and users everywhere are forming their own spaces online for people who share likeminded ideas and interests and want to connect with each other.
Using hashtags is easy and should be a part of your social media strategy from the get-go. If you are unsure about when and how to use them, here’s the top five reasons why you should.
Creating a hashtag for your brand will also help create good visibility. When people search your business, they will see how you are describing yourself with hashtags. This can give them a good idea of how you are branding your business. If users are searching for a specific hashtag, your branded hashtag will lead them to you. The result of these branded hashtags? More followers and potential customers.
2. To Reach Your Target Audience
Just like creating a hashtag supports branding, it also helps you reach your target audience. When users are searching hashtags for the services, ideals and values they want to find in a organization, they can find your business among the results. A quick Twitter search can help you find common terms that other leading industry businesses are using in their social media campaigns. You know they are running a successful campaign when they have a lot of followers and interactions.
3. To Increase Social Media Presence
Hashtags should encourage your target audience to take part in a conversation with you or about you. When choosing your hashtags, don’t get too wordy or unique. When people are searching hashtags, they look for common phrases or industry specific words. Just like before, doing a search on the media platform you are using will help you find the most popular hashtags. For example, when you type a hashtag into Instagram, the app will search popular hashtags and display the top related hashtags. The best part of this resource is that the results also display the number of times that particular hashtag has been used. The more you post with similar hashtags, the more visible your company will become on social media.
4. To Promote Your Business
This goes hand-in-hand with all of the above. When you use a hashtag, your followers will see it. The more you use it, the more it will become associated with your brand. When your users see it, they will start using that hashtag to describe you to their followers, then their followers will do the same. It will only grow from there. Creating contests with hashtags is another great way to increase followers and potential customers. People love to win prizes, so having a hashtag associated with a contest will help promote your business even more. Encourage your followers to use a specific hashtag and tell their favorite story or share a photo related to the prize you are offering. The hashtag will do your work for you each time it is shared by someone who wants in on the prize.
5. To Show You Care
Anytime something happens in the world, people take notice, but not in the conventional ways of the past. Following a hashtag like #DisasterRelief or #GivingTuesday allows an individual to contribute to or voice their opinion on issues that matter to them. Your company can do the same by sharing charities that are dear to your heart or events that let everyone know you care about your community. While participating in these activities is enough to show your concern and care for others, letting your users know this will also lend itself to creating new followers.
If you have been on the fence or unsure how to use hashtags, it is never too late to start. Getting on social media is not always easy so make the best of it by utilizing the built-in free resources that will get your business noticed in no time.
Looking for more information like this? Check these out:
Ready to get on the Social Media Train?