The Importance of #Hashtags
As someone who’s comfortable in the digital space, it’s often easy to assume that people have the same level of knowledge as I do. But I’m quickly learning that the digital arena can sometimes be a bit of a mystery to those not in the know. Technology is not something I’ve had to learn, as such. It’s something I’ve grown up with. I take it for granted. But for so many people I deal with, I recognise that’s not the case. And sometimes I find myself explaining things that are second nature to me. So, as I’m now running and managing the social media side to print4uk, I thought I’d share topics that some people might find a bit baffling. And try and explain them. Let’s talk about the importance of a hashtag.
What is a Hashtag
First things first. If you didn’t already know, this is what a hashtag looks like #. And they’re massively, and I mean hugely, important in the digital space. So, what are they? In short, it’s a word or phrase that’s preceded by a hash symbol. And you do this to ‘tag’ your post or tweet (Facebook and Instagram have both adopted the use of these now) with a keyword or topic of interest to make it more ‘findable’ .
Why are they important?
They’re important because anytime you prefix a word or phrase with one of these seemingly insignificant fellas, you immediately become associated with anyone else who’s tagged that word or phrase too. And that means it gives you immediate exposure to anyone who’s interested in that field. In business terms, it allows you to reach out to potential customers you are not already in contact with. It’s the ultimate warm lead if you like. People who don’t even know you’re out there (because they don’t directly follow you), will suddenly be aware of you. And all because you used a hashtag. It’s genius! It also links to all the other tweets/posts using that hashtag so it creates a group of tweets/posts. Giving you access to a whole community/audience who are – in principle – interested in what you have to say/sell / share.
- Do they serve a purpose?
Yes! They allow your business to connect with users of a specific audience. They were originally used first on Twitter but, because of their vast popularity and effectiveness, Facebook and Instagram have jumped on board too. And that speaks volumes.
- Is It mandatory to hashtag every single word?
Absolutely not! In fact, that’s the last thing that you should be doing when posting online, as it makes your business come across as spam and unprofessional. You may think that you will become more visible if you hashtag every word (and yes that probably is true but when social media users are scrolling through their Twitter feed or Instagram posts), but the reality is people won’t even look at posts in which every word is hashtagged. Another reason why you shouldn’t hashtag every single word is that by being select, you draw attention to keywords. Hashtag everything and that’s all anyone will see. A hole blur of #########################
- What keywords should I hashtag?
There really is no right or wrong answer to this question because it can vary from business to business. All it really is, is trial and error when it comes to which word you should hashtag. For example, when we’re tweeting about our products we would hashtag words like “prospectus printing” or “perfect bound brochures” as it gives us broad exposure to the print industry at large. But these hashtags would be pointless, say, for the fashion industry. In short, keep them relevant to your business and topic.
The dos and don’ts of Hash-tagging
- Always use relevant hashtags for the industry in which your business is involved in.
- When composing a post have a look at trending hashtags to see if you can relate any to your post. This is a quick, and relatively easy, way to boost the number of potential customers exposed to your business. However, don’t just use the hashtag because it is relevant – optimise its impact by making it the focus of your post.
- Never over hashtag. Any more than 3 hashtags per tweet is too much and can look like spam. That is not what you want your business to be seen as.
- Don’t expect your hashtags to catch on. If it’s your brand logo that’s exclusive to you, it negates the purpose of the hashtag in the first place – because the idea of a hashtag is to reach out to people that are not following you by using relevant hashtags to them. If you use tags that are only relevant to your company, you’ll only capture people that are already following you.
- And don’t hashtag words that are not relevant to your business as you will drive the wrong kind of traffic towards your post. This makes the post useless.
How to create a hashtag
Creating a business hashtag is easy. A hashtag can be made from any word, phrase, or acronym, as long as there are no spaces between words within the phrase, and it is preceded by the hash symbol (#). #niceandeasy
Be sure that the hashtag is relevant to your business in terms of product, service, location, or period of time. For example, Warby Parker, a prescription eyeglass brand, has been using the hashtag #seesummerbetter in order to promote using their products for a more enjoyable season. Dunkin Donuts often hashtags #DDperkslove for their customers to share pictures of them enjoying their coffee and doughnuts. Both of these hashtags are relevant to the business and what they do. Daily hashtags for small business marketing are another way to ensure relevancy in your hashtags.
About the author
Digital Marketing Assistant
As Digital Marketing Assistant at Print4UK, Lewis helps with all aspects of digital marketing – from social media, to web design and from email campaigns to PPC. Being social media savvy Lewis settled into the role with ease. He is looking forward to making a real impact on what goes on at Print4UK, by taking their digital marketing to the next level.