In today’s digital world, businesses constantly search for new and innovative ways to connect with their target audience. While this is no surprise, the methods they choose to do so may come as a bit of a shock. Businesses everywhere use hashtags in their marketing campaigns – but is that a good thing? Anyone who regularly follows celebrities or famous footballers will be well aware of the ‘hash’ # symbol.
It has been used on Twitter as a means of tagging users so they can be easily found again by other users with similar interests. As such, if you type in #football you will find everyone who has used that tag in their tweets or profile – making it much easier for you to see them again. The same principle applies to online marketing; brands implement hashtags to connect with consumers and increase visibility for products and services. Here’s why your business should be using them, too:
What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is a type of metadata that users can add to their posts on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. The hashtags are clickable links that take users to a searchable feed of content tagged with the same hashtag. Hashtags have become an essential part of digital marketing campaigns, and are used to encourage engagement and increase brand-awareness.
If you have ever seen a hashtag in a post on Instagram or Twitter, you know how they work. Anyone can add a hashtag to their post, and then anyone can click on that hashtag to see other posts that have been tagged with it too. On Instagram, hashtags are used to help people find your photos by searching relevant hashtags – like the name of your product or store, event or special event; or something related to your company, like your slogan.
Why businesses should be using them
Hashtags are a great way to leverage the power of social media. They are a way to connect with your target audience, and they can help you get your message out there. To better understand why businesses should use hashtags, we must first look at the benefits of doing so.
Search engine optimisation
Firstly, hashtags act as a search engine optimisation strategy. When you use hashtags within your content, a search engine will be able to categorise and archive your content more efficiently. Likewise, customers will be able to find your content more easily – making it easier for your brand to reach a larger audience. Businesses can also use hashtags to build stronger relationships with their customers. When customers see their favourite brands promoting a given hashtag, it encourages them to engage with the post and add their own two cents. This can subsequently lead to increased brand loyalty and product sales.
Build a solid customer-brand relationship and sense of community
As previously mentioned, using hashtags to foster a better relationship with your customers is a significant benefit of using them in your marketing campaigns. You can use hashtags in responding to customers, get feedback, and foster brand advocacy. You can use hashtags to encourage customers to share their experiences with your brand – and even provide feedback regarding products or services.
You can also use hashtags to create a community around your brand and encourage users to interact with one another. When your company actively participates in online discussions using hashtags, you open the door to a world of opportunities. Hashtags can be used to reach out to users who are interested in what a business has to offer. For example, if a business is selling products or services related to the outdoors, they could use hashtags such as #outdoors, #hiking, or #camping. This would allow them to reach out to users who are interested in those topics.
Establish credibility and trust with consumers
Hashtags can also help you strengthen your brand image and build trust with potential customers. By using hashtags that are relevant to your brand, you can effectively demonstrate your knowledge about a given topic. For example, if you sell shoes you could create a hashtag that encourages your audience to discuss the best pair for their feet. This will help you build confidence in your customers and demonstrate your expertise in the footwear industry.
How do hashtags benefit businesses?
Apart from the benefits listed above, hashtags can also help your brand increase visibility and find new customers. You can use relevant hashtags that are trending to increase your following and engage with a larger audience. Use trending hashtags to find new customers and expand your business. Businesses can also use specific hashtags to host contests and gain brand recognition. For example, you could create a hashtag related to your brand and encourage users to participate in a competition hosted on your account. The more you engage with your customers and invite them to participate in your posts, the more brand-recognition you will receive.
Tips for using hashtags in your marketing campaigns
It is important to use hashtags strategically. If you’re not sure how to use them, or if you want some tips on how to do so, keep reading. Here are some tips for using hashtags:
Choose the right hashtag: The most important thing to remember when using hashtags is to choose the right ones. Your hashtags should be relevant to your content and brand, yet unique enough to stand out from the rest among the search results.
Understand the nature of your platform: The number and type of hashtags you use will be determined by the social media platform you use. Each platform limits the number of hashtags that can be used. While some platforms allow you to use dozens of hashtags, not everyone wants to see posts with that many hashtags.
Use the right hashtag for the right content: Using the same hashtags for every piece of content is a big mistake many businesses make. Remember that each post has a unique audience and purpose, so make sure you use a relevant hashtag. You don’t want your customers to miss out on your content because they’re looking for something else entirely.
Use the correct number of hashtags: People use a wide range of hashtags in their posts, but there is an optimal number you should use per post. Using too many hashtags results in a lower engagement rate, which can decrease your post views. Using too few hashtags can make your posts less visible and affect your brand’s reach negatively. On Facebook, for example, it is preferable to use fewer hashtags. If you want to use them on Facebook, limit yourself to two or three hashtags.
Make sure you know what your hashtags mean: If you use hashtags that are unrelated to your business, you might risk your brand’s credibility and authority. Be mindful of your hashtags, and ensure they align with your brand’s goals and values.
Only use hashtags when they are relevant to the post: While using hashtags is a great way to increase your post views, likes and shares, they should only be used when they are relevant to the post and not forced. Below is a sample post for B&FT with hashtags:
“B&FT is the definitive source for business news in Ghana, Africa and beyond. We provide in-depth coverage of the latest developments and trends in various industries. Whether you’re looking to stay up to date on the latest developments in your industry or exploring new opportunities, B&FT has you covered. #BFTGhana #BusinessNews #Africa.”
Use hashtags on all social media platforms: While Instagram and Twitter are the best places to use hashtags, don’t forget to use them on your other social media accounts.
All in all, hashtags are a fantastic way to promote your business, its products and services to reach potential customers. By using hashtags that are trending and relevant to your brand, you can increase your visibility and reach a wider audience. Using hashtags in your marketing campaigns is a great way to generate brand-awareness, build a stronger relationship with your customers and establish a stronger brand image. #HashtagsMatter #UseHashtags
About the Author: The author is a trainer and digital communications strategist. He has over seven years of experience in various communication roles with impact consulting firms across Africa. He adds value to organisations by building capacity and making their projects visible, audible, and influential through tailored strategies, content and channels.
LinkedIn: Cecil Ato Kwamena Dadzie
Email: [email protected]