We’ve all seen hashtags on TV, in advertising, and as part of social media status updates, but have you figured out how they work yet? Recall the current campaign by Kentucky Fried Chicken. They are using the hashtag #howdoyoudoKFC to drive customer response to their brand.
Are You Chicken to use Hashtags?
The hashtag campaign #howdoyouKFC has been effective in engaging customers. KFC now has an amazing amount of marketing content from photos and videos submitted online. Makes me want to eat a wing! See their Website to see what I’m talking about.
You can get super creative with the use of hashtags for events, contests, and promotions. A campaign like KFC’s can take a lot of maintenance time though. You need to do what’s best for your business based on your marketing goals. Most of us don’t have brand recognition like KFC, and have more modest goals and budget.
Let’s talk about practicality and see how hashtags can be used for your business.
Tip: Anyone can come up with their own hashtag!
How to Search using Hashtags
Hashtags are used on Twitter, and other popular social media networks Google Plus, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. They are included in posts and bios so that users can find topics and people to engage.
Most Facebook users haven’t quite gotten the hang of using hashtags yet. But if you type a hashtag with a pound sign and keywords in the Facebook search box at the top of the page, you are likely going to get results. Now is a good time to optimize your Facebook about section, and start using hashtags in posts.
Important Note: Hashtags are not used on LinkedIn.
Here is an example of a Facebook search using hashtag #plumberventura. The results listed this local plumbing business that used #plumberventura as a hashtag in their post. They could also use variations such as #venturaplumber.
Try experimenting by searching using hashtags on different networks. Many users are not using hashtags properly, but imagine if you knew how to use them. The proper hashtags can make it easier for people searching for hashtags to find you, and help to increase your customer base! Think of this as searching for keywords in search engines.
How to Use Hashtags for Small Biz
What if you aren’t a big brand, and want to take advantage of hashtags? Hashtags can be used to create awareness of your business/organization by making it easier to find.
The key to success is using hashtags that people use. It’s the same concept as optimizing a Website with keywords that have been researched. You want to optimize your intro/about sections using keywords and hashtags that people are using. If no one is searching for #plumberinventura then you don’t want to use that. Marketing should be based on research, not guesswork, in order to target the right audience.
Tip: Keyword research should be part of your marketing plan.
Back to the search for a plumber in Ventura. We did a search on Twitter for #plumberventura. There is only one plumber listed in the search results (note that you can refine your search on the left–to see all results keep Everything selected).
Tip: It’s easy to use a hashtag, just use the pound sign (#) and no spaces!
In the beginning, hashtags were a way for Twitter users to find topics and converse. It is easy to categorize, locate and join threads on just about any topic by searching for #insertkeywords in the Twitter search box. When used effectively, Twitter hashtags are a powerful tool for promoting your business and tracking trends.
Tip: Make sure your hashtags relate to your posts!
Hashtags have become so popular they are now being overused as part of a trend to be clever or witty. #iamsocool #mymothersaidso #blahblahblah You’ll see tags like these in posts all over Facebook. Too many hashtags as part of a post can be annoying, so they should be used sparingly. A good general rule to follow is to use at least two hashtags, with a max of several, in posts on most networks.
Hope this info helps. Let us know your hashtag questions! #peaceout
Last Tip: There is no advantage to using hashtags in blogs. ; )
Hashtags on Twitter http://www.hashtags.org
Hashtag Search Engine (minus Google Plus!)
How to Get the Most out of Twitter Hashtags on Mashable
Another Small Business Internet Marketing Blog by Tina Reed Johnson