#Hashtags. They’re all over social media. Why is everyone using them? What can they do for you?
First, a hashtag is a word or group of words preceded by a # that represents a topic that you post on social media. Its purpose is to help users search topics of interest on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest.
Here’s how it works: The person who publishes a post includes the #, followed by the word or group of words associated that particular topic. When someone wants to look up items associated with that topic, they simply enter that same information into the search bar, and voila—all the discussions related to it will curate into one place.
For example, if you’re publishing a post about cloud computing, you’d want to include one or more applicable hashtags, like this popular one: #cloudcomputing
Why are hashtags important for your business?
It’s simple: use them to expand your reach beyond just your own followers and drive greater engagement. When users search on any hashtag you use, you’ll appear in those search results. For example, if you use #BigData, you would join the world of people posting about it. Think of how powerful that is when you have content that you’d like to expose to a larger audience.
Hashtags are particularly powerful when it comes to industry shows or and events. If you’re hosting an event, create a hashtag specific to it and use it in all of your event communications. And if you’re attending/exhibiting at an industry show, look up the show hashtag e.g.#DellEMCWorld, and be sure to also include it in all of your posts so that you become a part of the greater show social feed. While you’re at it, ask people to follow you so you grow your social audience during the show.
Here are some quick and simple rules for hashtags:
1.Do not include spaces, even if you have two words (i.e. #cloudstorage)
2.Hashtags are NOT case sensitive and yes, you can use numbers with them
3.You can use multiple hashtag phrases in one social post, but keep it to three or under. That goes for most platforms except for Instagram, where users have up to a dozen hashtags
4.Note that hashtags can be searched for on Google, which is great exposure for your organization
5.If you’re looking to create a “unique” hashtag, first search and see if it’s already being used
Use trending hashtags
When a hashtag begins to trend, it’s because it’s being widely used. When you login to Twitter, you’ll see trending hashtags on the left side. A handy app I use to locate the top hashtags for a topic is called Hashtagify. When you type in your intended hashtag, it gives you insight as to the top ten hashtags trending and related to it and can help you decide what is the best one to use based on hashtag’s popularity with its audience.
Last, here are a few Trending Hashtags to get you started this week. Include them in each day’s social posts and see your post views rise.
[Leadarati helps IT firms drive value and increase opportunities through social, digital and online communications. To subscribe to Anita O'Malley's monthly social business tips news, SocialBiz 411, visit this website.]