Facebook has finally joined the trend and now supports clickable hashtags. Now, if you are not a user of Twitter, Instagram or Google+, you might think “so what?” The game changer is that Facebook and its over one billion users have now joined the party. Hashtags have been used in the other social media platforms all along, but Facebook can expose your business and brand to an entirely new audience.
For the newbie, a hashtag is the use of the symbol (#) in front of a word, a phrase, or even a picture or video that makes the item findable as a searchable “tag”. It makes it incredibly easy to follow topics, trends, brands, conversations and so on. The Twitterverse has been using them for years, and they are especially useful for breaking news and Twitter’s version of chat called Tweetchat. Conferences and conventions have been using hashtags to aggregate their content for their events, and many advertisers and networks have exploited their use on TV or in print.
While Facebook hasn’t perfected its hashtag implementation (there are some glitches), it is significant enough for businesses to take notice. If your business hasn’t adopted its own hashtag and use of them in your content, now is the time to include them in your social media strategy.
7 Steps to Get Started
- Create a hashtag for your business name or brand. You will use this to tag content (status updates, pictures, videos) so your name is searchable. If you don’t use Twitter, you have more flexibility. (In Twitter, every character counts!) In the process of deciding your hashtag, research it first by doing searches in all the platforms to make sure it is not already in use. In my case, I use #ElkayAdvisors.
- Create a list of related keywords and key phrases related to your services or products that can be used as hashtags with related content. Before you start using them, do your research and run searches in all the platforms to see who else is using it and what content they are sharing.
- Once you have your company/brand hashtag and your list, include them in your social media calendar content and use them consistently to grow awareness and increase your reach.
- You can use other hashtags depending on the content you are sharing, and a little humor is OK too. Pay attention to other hashtags in use to help you identify trends and opportunities.
- Follow best practices. Do not spam by using other hashtags that may be trending in order to get your content in front of that audience. Don’t overload your posts with hashtags. No one wants to #read a #sentence #that #looks #like #this. I recommend no more than three hashtags per post. Overuse of hashtags will create negative feedback.
- Check your competition and see how they are using hashtags (or not).
- Give your fans and followers a reason to use the hashtags. Research by RadiumOne found that 51% of those who responded to the survey said that they would be more willing to share company hashtags if they were awarded discounts or chances at prizes if they were to do so. Look for ways to integrate hashtags in all your marketing activities so you can leverage all ways to connect with your audience.
So what are you waiting for? I would love to hear your feedback and know what hashtags you have created for your business. Share them on my Elkay Corporate Advisors Facebook page.