Jargon Buster – Hashtags.
From YMG – Digital Marketing Experts in Chelmsford, Essex.
No, they’re not just empty tic-tac-toe grids…
These little beauties are one of the most important parts of modern social media. They may not seem hard to use, and to some extent that is true. But, to master them is an art. So, if we want to master the hashtag, we must be at one with the hashtag. Think like a hashtag, feel like a hashtag, be a hashtag.
…or we can just jump straight into this edition of Jargon Buster. Today we’re going to discussing what a hashtag is, how they work, and how you can use them to benefit your business.
What Is a Hashtag?
First proposed in 2007 by a man named Chris Messina, a hashtag is this little symbol #. Placing it before a word or phrase (minus the spaces) tags a word or phrase on social media sites. As long as it’s placed before the word or phrase, it will become searchable. A hashtag’s use is to make the content it’s attached to shareable with that hashtag. For example, if you search #EliteSportingPrinciples on Twitter or Instagram, some of our content will appear. This content is not exclusive by any means but has now become easy to find by using this hashtag. For our content to reach you otherwise can be difficult. What’s more, hashtags are free.
It doesn’t matter if your hashtags are capitalised, but it often helps to break up keyphrases. For example, #canyoureadthisornot is harder to read than #CanYouReadThisOrNot. But, content posted with either of these hashtags will be put together when searched for.
How Do Hashtags Work?
First, find what words and phrases you want to hashtag. To achieve the best results with this, you must first know your audience.
Once you’ve identified your target audience, you’ll know both their interests and pain points. This is where the hashtag comes in. For example, imagine your business sells power tools. And your target audience is first time users. Of course, simple hashtags like #DIY, #DIYTools, and #PowerTools will gain some engagement. But, this isn’t hitting pain points. This is simply hitting the basic keywords. Putting you in with every other business that isn’t thinking hard enough. You have to think as a consumer, not as a business. And this is where you’ll want to find your keyphrases that can boost your content and reach your audience. So, try hashtags like #DIYTips, #DIYCrafts, or #DIYVideo (if your content is a video, of course). The more appealing and appropriate your hashtags are, the more likely your target audience will engage with your content.
Hashtags do not need capitalisation. Content posted with both #thistypeofhashtag and #ThisTypeOfHashtag will be grouped together. But, we recommend capitalising your hashtags, as it makes them easier to distinguish. It also highlights spelling mistakes easier than all lowercase hashtags. Nobody wants their business to miss out on potential business because they used #gadeningbusiness.
What Type of Businesses Can Use Hashtags?
Much like every element of digital marketing, almost every business can use hashtags. There are two main ways that a business can use hashtags.
With the internet growing larger every day, more and more people are using social media sites. Because of this, more businesses in different markets and industries are gaining an online presence. With this, there becomes more of an opportunity for you to reach your target audience using hashtags.
The difficult part is finding what hashtags your target audience use. Once you’ve found this, the opportunities for your business are there for the taking.
How Can I Use Hashtags?
If you’re a new/start-up business, it’s best to begin using the hashtags your audience is using. Choosing the ones that are most relevant to your business and applying them to your content is a good place to start. As these posts will start to become visible to the type of people you want as your customers.
To find these, go to places that your target audience is likely to be. Find competitors, similar businesses, or pages that post content relevant to your business or service. What hashtags do they use? Are any of them relevant to your business or service? And, most importantly, do these hashtags have a large following?
From here, it’s your decision which hashtags to use. Using a widely used hashtag means you know people will be using it, but you may be lost in the large volume of content with this hashtag. Using a lesser-known one increases your chances of being seen but by fewer people. Or, perhaps try a healthy mix of both.
The second way is to start your own hashtag. To do this, you’ll want to have a decent following on your social media profiles, or a group of brand evangelists.
Creating your hashtag can bring many benefits to your business. The biggest of which is creating a greater sense of community amongst your dedicated customers. As they will be the only ones using this hashtag along with your official content, it creates a sense of togetherness. Often, businesses ask their customers to share pictures of the items or services you sell and use this hashtag. With this, the business can ‘like’ the post, or even repost it (with consent). This process is often called a customer spotlight. And it’s often accompanied with benefits such as offering discounts or exclusive items. This process can be beneficial for your business. Followers of your customers using this hashtag may click the hashtag to see what it means. Upon clicking it, this new user will see the community your hashtag has created, which may convert another them. Failing this, it is a point of contact between you and a new potential lead, which may develop later down the line.
With this newfound knowledge, you now know a little bit more about the power of the hashtag.
On the surface, it may seem annoying that content is #Posted #Like #This #NoRegrets. But, when used correctly, hashtags can bring potential leads to almost any business. If you’re willing to put in a small amount of research, you’ll soon begin to see the benefits of the hashtag. #Winning
For more information on how social media can benefit your business, click here.
YMG are a full-service digital marketing agency based in Chelmsford, Essex. We specialise in the sporting and fitness market. However, our elite sporting principles and services can be used to enhance any business.
YMG are the home of the Jargon Buster series, helping business owners to understand the technical terms of digital marketing.