It is increasingly important for business owners to utilize social media and other inbound marketing methods to increase reach to current and potential customers.
According to Pew Research’s Internet Project results, many adults say that they do most of their business online and learn about new products and services via mobile technology, such as social media. As a marketing tool, it’s vital that you harness the power of social media to reach the online community of your potential client base and create a recognizable, branded social experience. A modern approach to paying for advertising jingles and marketing taglines has emerged in the creation of hashtags for self-promotion.
What Are Hashtags?
Hashtags are fairly simple: they originated on Twitter several years ago as a user-generated idea, but have since spread in popularity to other social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Hashtags are used on social media and with digital marketing campaigns as a way to categorize posts and information to keep content organized and tracked.
This also helps people to find information as hashtags become trending topics, whereby a topic of social conversation has been used so many times that it is deemed a “trend.” These trending topics are monitored all over the world, from #LAearthquakes to the #WinterOlympics, but users can specifically see the trends in their area as they so choose. A user can simply search for posts filed under particular hashtags, or check the latest trending topics to see what news items are most popular.
Easy enough, right? But how can you use hashtags to grow your business?
How to Use Hashtags to Increase Sales Leads
Hashtags can assist your inbound marketing efforts, and later, your customer service team, with increased customer interest, which leads to increased sales. There are a few key points to remember when utilizing hashtags to increase interest in your product or service.
- Follow Character Rules: To insert a hashtag in your post, you simply type the “#” sign in front of a keyword or phrase without using any spaces or other characters. Numbers are okay to use, but never with accompanying punctuation. Once published, the hashtag will automatically become a link that users can click on to see other posts with that hashtag.
- Tag Other Users: Don’t be confused by the difference between the #hastag and the @tag. The @ symbol tags other users while hashtags do not. If you want to tag another user, you can either respond to them directly (@McDonalds I love when the #McRib returns!) or place a period in front of the @ symbol to allow your followers to see your message and know who you are communicating with and what about.
- Don’t Overuse Hashtags: When reading a post that has more than three hashtags, most users are immediately turned off. Don’t overuse hashtags, as this can seem like spam. Two or three hashtags are just about right for any given post (we’ve all seen Jimmy Fallon’s Hashtag skit with Justin Timberlake, right?).
- Keep Hashtags Relevant: When you add hashtags to a post that are irrelevant to the topic just to jump on trending topics and get users to click, this turns people off. Use intriguing hashtags, but keep them relevant to your business. Start with your services, or keywords you want to rank with, as your main hashtags (like #ArkansasInboundMarketing or #socialmedia) then you can always add to them as you go.
- Use Common Hashtags: The key is to keep your hashtags simple and recognizable. Overly complicated hashtags will never come up in search results and users will have difficulty deciphering your branding messages. This will cause your content to get buried under that of your competitors. If you are attending an event or using a product with a recognizable hashtag, utilize it as you tweet your comments so your potential customers know you are involved in your industry.
- Include Your Brand: One hashtag that you should always include in posts is your own business name or brand. This helps users sort and find things that your business has specifically posted. You can also use hashtags that describe sales or special events to help visitors find what they are looking for. When you see responses to your hashtag, turn those into business conversations that can lead to new relationship.
- Utilize Trending Topics: After the success and infamy of Twitter’s trending topics feature exploded with success, Facebook now also features trending topics on users’ dashboards. Use this feature to your advantage. If you provide a product or service that relates to a popular hashtag, make your own comments, incorporate that hashtag in your posting, and monitor how others respond to it.
We Can Help
Wondering how hashtags and social networks can be used to grow your business? Scale is an inbound marketing firm for all things related to SEO, social media, and web development. Contact us today for more information about inbound marketing, and let us help you propel your business to the next level. Follow @iprovonline on Twitter for company and industry news and updates.