Hashtags are an integral part of social media – but how can small businesses use them to their advantage within their social media strategy?
In this helpful guide, we’re going to break down exactly what hashtags are, how they differ between each social media platform, and how small businesses can use them to their advantage within their social media strategy.
The Ultimate Guide To Hashtags For Small Businesses
What exactly are hashtags?
The use of the hashtag began with Twitter, but has since extended to numerous social media platforms. Hashtags are simply a word (keyword) or phrase which are preceded by the hash symbol (#). Using hashtags across social media platforms helps users to target specific audiences, and allows users to search for niche content that is relevant to their interests.
Why should small businesses utilise hashtags?
Social media is constantly growing and for small businesses, it is absolutely vital that they make use of this large audience market in order to grow their brand. Using a hashtag on social media is an extremely useful tool in growing your audience, as a hashtag will immediately expand the reach of your tweet to anyone who is interested in that hashtag phrase or keyword.
Hashtags across different social platforms
To effectively implement the use of hashtags into your small business’ social media strategy, it’s highly important to understand their effectiveness across different social media platforms. Each platform uses them differently, and understanding this is key.
For example, Tweets with 1 or 2 hashtags have higher engagement than those with 3 or more hashtags. Using too many hashtags devalues the strength of the hashtag and makes each additional one more meaningless than the last, so it’s important not to over do it.
With Instagram, it’s entirely different. Instagram posts with 11 or more hashtags are proven to have the highest interactions, as these are likely to reach a much wider audience without devaluing each other. Many Instagram users use lots of hashtags on their posts to build a community. For example, beauty bloggers will use hashtags such as #bbloggers to search and discover similar content within their niche.
Yet with Facebook, many users find that posts without a hashtag actually fare better than those with a hashtag.
Understanding how each platform uses hashtags will allow you to plan your social media campaigns more effectively to garner the best results.
Creating a hashtag for your small business/brand
Creating a catchy and memorable brand hashtag is a valuable (and fun) way to boost brand awareness. A good brand hashtag will be unique and relevant to your brand and/or campaign. Using a generic word or phrase should be avoided, as it will not be distinctive and will be much harder to track across social media.
Jimmy’s Iced Coffee frequently use the hashtag #KYCU, an abbreviation for ‘Keep Your Chin Up’ which is their brand slogan, included on their product packaging. With this simple hashtag, they are able to monitor brand awareness across their social media channels and engage with their customers on a deeper level. It’s also just a really nice message, too!
— Jimmy’s Iced Coffee (@jimmyicedcoffee) 21 June 2016
Hashtags in the wild
Not only are hashtags hugely powerful online, but they can work well when placed outside of the Internet, too. Jimmy’s Iced Coffee place their hashtag in advertisements and even on their exclusive clothing range, which prompts hashtag use amongst their customer base online.
Although not every small business will have such an advertising budget, a similar idea can be executed on a smaller scale through flyers, posters and more.
One last note:
Ultimately, hashtags are a great way to increase your small business’ exposure across social media and are easy to implement into your social media strategy. Embrace their power, but don’t go crazy. Avoid simple mistakes such as breaking a hashtag with a symbol or spacing, and ensure that when capitalization is removed the words in the hashtag do not create other words or messages. If a hashtag can be misread, it will be!
Choose the most relevant and effective hashtags for your brand and consumer base, and you’ll soon see a boost in your brand awareness.
Thanks for reading!
More blog posts: