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The intricacies of hashtag use for a business doing social media

Hashtag use for for businesses doing social media marketing
Hashtag use for for businesses doing social media marketing
Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Any business using social media marketing should already know about the infamous hashtag. If not, now is a good time to learn about it. Hashtags can help spread a brand’s message in various ways, but they can also hurt a business if misused.

Hasthag basics

  • Hashtags make information searchable.
  • Hashtags allow business shares to appear in the stream of the hashtag in question.
  • Hashtags help people keep track of relevant posts that interest them.
  • Hashtags trend which means brands can use them to join in on a trending topic or become a trending topic themselves.

In short, hashtags help businesses get in front of their target audience, gain visibility, and extend their reach. However, brands need to play close attention to how they use hashtags unless they want a hashtag fail scenario, such as what took place for some of the sponsors of the Sochi Olympics.

A couple pointers to avoid misusing hashtags

  • Have a 360-degree view of the marketplace to avoid backlash if deciding to promote a trending topic or event.
  • Don’t overdo it or it will read like spam. One to three hashstags are the best numbers of hashtags to use in one post; and preferably not one after the other.
  • Brands must do research to ensure the use of the right hashtags if they wish to get in front of their target audience. Furthermore, each platform is different (i.e. what hashtags are used on Facebook by target audiences could differ from what they are using on Twitter or Google+).

Businesses doing social media marketing want to use hashtags if they are going to make full use of the online platforms’ potential for brand awareness, community growth and lead generation.

Hashtags help people to find topics of interest and they assist businesses to share those same topics and get found to offer that value, build relationships and their community. It’s a win-win for both sides.

When it comes to your social media marketing efforts, how effective has your business’ hashtag use been so far?