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Most small businesses never realize the full value of #hashtag marketing strategies. Many of them simply use hashtags as a bunch of filler after the end of a tweet or other social media post. Or they use a bunch of generic hashtags that don’t help to develop the brand. With that in mind, here are a few clever ways to put #hashtag marketing to work for your business.
Tip #1: Create a unique hashtag for your brand
In a best case scenario, this unique hashtag will become instantly recognizable to online social media users. When they see this hashtag, they will know that the accompanying content is “on brand” and part of your brand story. For example, if you want your brand to be known for customer service, create a brand hashtag linking your company’s name to a specific theme relevant to customer service. In many ways, this hashtag is like a clever jingle from a TV commercial – it’s concise, relevant and easy to remember (and it stays in your head for days).
Tip #2: Follow the trending #hashtag
In the social media world, the trend is your friend. Since these trends are usually fleeting, it means that you have to stay on top of what’s trending online. Most social media platforms – and especially Twitter – make this easy to do, by presenting a daily set of trending #hashtags. When you see one that’s relevant to your business – it’s time to act! For example, Denny’s used the trending hashtag #Collegein5words to create a tweet humorously touting the role of a late-night Denny’s experience in defining the college experience.
Tip #3: Become part of the conversations that your customers are having
Social media is a two-way street. Sure, your company is creating content on an ongoing basis, and you’re hoping that customers are paying attention to what you have to say. But that works in reverse, too. You have to listen to what your customers are saying. One way of doing that is via hashtags. For example, if you run a healthy food business, you might see that your customers are using the hashtag #cleaneating. That gives you an opportunity to post content that ties into this whole #cleaneating trend. You are literally giving customers what they want – and potentially attracting new ones.
Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to ask customers to take action
One popular type of hashtag is essentially a clever call-to-action (CTA) for social media users. If you are trying to raise awareness around a topic that’s near and dear to your brand, don’t be afraid to ask customers to re-tweet, re-post or share. And, you can even encourage customers to take action in the real world, not just the social media world. For example, Coca-Cola has used the hashtag #ShareACoke to inspire people in local communities to use Coke as a way of connecting with others.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to put hashtags to work. The only caveat here, of course, is that you can’t over-do it too much. Just as nobody enjoys a blog post that’s been obnoxiously stuffed with keywords, nobody enjoys a social media post that has been maxed out with a bunch of meaningless #hashtags.