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What are hashtags and how can you use them effectively?

If you have anything to do with social media, the chances are you will have heard of hashtags. These are a word, or a short group of words, after hashtagthe # sign. If someone searches for a specific hashtag, they will find all of the posts containing them.

Hashtags are on all forms of social media these days and they should not be ignored, instead you should seek to understand them, their uses and how they can expand your reach, target your market and get your content found.

3 key strategies for using and understanding hashtags are:

Brand hashtags are used for your own business. For example, Nike has #makeitcount.  To use this strategy, produce a brand hashtag that defines your business and add it to all your posts, the more momentum the hashtag gathers the more people will use it and over time it will become  associated with your brand.

This strategy can also be used for particular campaigns to raise profiles. For example Coca-Cola used #holidaysarecoming over the Christmas period.

A trending hashtag is a topic that has become popular, with the most people using the same hashtag. For example, #friday often trends on a Friday. Trending hashtags change all the time and the top ten can change in a matter of minutes. It can be useful for a business to tap into trending hashtags as many people will be looking at it, however you must be quick and it’s important not to spam it.

So, how can you find out what hashtags are trending? Different social media platforms have different ways of displaying this information; Twitter displays it on the left hand side of the homepage, Facebook to the right.

Content hashtags are neither trending nor part of a marketing campaign, they are used for key words in a post, a feeling or location for example. These are another way to have your post seen by as many people as possible and are quick and easy to create. For example you may post: Having a great holiday in #newyorkcity

So there you have a whistle stop tour of the world of hashtags. Of course, you can delve much deeper, but by following these simple steps your social media posts will become much more effective and visible.

By creating interesting content that speaks of topics your users are interested in, you’ll be able to better show how interested you and your company are in the bigger picture. You invite conversation and have more immediate interaction with your followers on topics of interest. 

Related blogs: Essential Twitter #hashtags for your business



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