How To Use Hashtags For Your Business

hashtagsI recently attended a screening of BET’s new movie and upcoming TV series “Being Mary Jane,” starring Gabrielle Union.  At the screening, they asked everyone attending to promote the show on Twitter and Instagram using several different hashtags.   Since then, I’ve been noticing that everyone is using a hash tag!  Dallas small businesses and agencies would do well to follow what Hollywood movies are doing and get on the hashtag bandwagon.

I had to do some research to see what is up with this phenomenon!   So, here is the 411 on hashtags:

A hashtag consists of words or phrases (with no spaces), preceded by a # sign (i.e. #SWWLS  or #SocietyofWomenWhoLoveShoes) that is used to tie various social media posts together and relate them to a topic. Topics are sometimes connected to an event, TV show, sporting event, or any happening or trend of your choosing. Originally, hashtags were created on Twitter, but today they can be used on Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Vine.

By clicking on a hashtag in a social post, that social network will automatically curate and display a feed of other messages also incorporating the same hashtag.  Hashtags let you add context to a post and show that it’s a part of a larger discussion. They can be good for connecting people to other individuals discussing the same topic and are also great for connecting people at events.

To create a hashtag, simply include a # symbol in front of a word or phrase, without spaces. A hashtag can occur at the beginning or the middle of a post. As a business, you can use a hashtag to make an event even more social. You can join other conversations, boost the visibility of a promotion or explore new content for content ideas.

#DontCreateAHashtagThatsTooLong: Keep your hashtag short and sweet, easy to spell and easy to remember. If you want to incorporate your hashtag across multiple channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), you need to consider the character restrictions of those social networks. If you’re creating a hashtag for an event with a long title like Society of Women Who Love Shows, consider using an abbreviation or acronym, #SWWLS.

Extra Tip: Do a search for the hashtag you intend to use before you use it. You never know what people may be using hashtags to discuss. You wouldn’t want to accidentally connect your business to a negative, controversial or embarrassing topic.

Whether you like them or not, hashtags are a key part of social media marketing. In fact, 71% of people on social media use hashtags. They aren’t that bad either. The same study found that 43% of hashtags users think they’re useful and 35% use them to follow categories and brands of personal interest like YOUR business!
Download “10 Best Facebook Business Practices” and learn more about how to use social media for your business.

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