The right hashtag can be a powerful tool for engaging a target audience and increasing brand awareness.
By Ron Feir
• Hashtags make it easier for people to find and follow discussions about brands, events and activities.
• The right hashtag can be a powerful tool for engaging a target audience and increasing brand awareness.
• Hashtags should be unique and should be used across your multiple platforms for maximum impact.
The “#” symbol, long known as a pound, number or hash sign, has been turned by Twitter into an online sensation: the “hashtag.”
Today, whether you are on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube or Facebook, you cannot escape the #hashtag. Hashtags are such a prominent part of culture that it’s rare to find anyone who hasn’t heard the term.
The right hashtag is powerful
At first glance, to the social media novice, hashtags might seem confusing, annoying and pointless. But if you understand their purpose and learn how to use them, hashtags are a powerful tool to help engage your target audience and increase your brand awareness.
What are #hashtags and how do you use them?
A hashtag is a keyword or phrase preceded by the hash symbol (#), that people include in their social media posts. The hashtag is perhaps the most popular means of categorizing content on social media. Essentially, it makes the content of your post accessible and discoverable to people with similar interests and allows you to find relevant content from other people and businesses.
Hashtags make it easier for people to find and follow discussions about brands, events and activities. They also allow companies to track campaign performance across all social media platforms. There are three major hashtag categories: Words or phrases that are trending, content specific to your campaign and brand specific.
Hashtags appear as clickable links on posts. A mouse click will display a real-time live feed of other posts with the same hashtag. The results you see on this feed are the aggregated posts of any users using the same hashtag.
What’s better? Popular mainstream hashtags or create your own?
An effective hashtag is unique, memorable and relevant to your campaign or interest. Don’t hashtag every word posted.
Words or phrases that are popular, general or widely used may not get the desired effect. Your content may be lost in a sea of content. It’s okay to use general hashtags such as #marketing or #webinars or others, but it’s harder to make those effective when trying to have a unique conversation. Social media users tend to use an excessive amount or confusing hashtags. Doing so dilutes their message and generally comes off as desperation.
Don’t try to be too clever. Hashtags are supposed to make content easier to find and engage, but long, confusing or arduous hashtags can make your content seem more complicated.
Two important tips:
No.1: Use the same hashtag on multiple channels
No.2: Search the hashtag before using it. Don’t embarrass yourself by using a hashtag that has another meaning.
There are many resources to assist you with hashtag development. RiteTag optimizes updates for Facebook, Twitter and Google+ with the best possible hashtags for your post, then analyzes them to let you know the effectiveness.
How to determine if your #hashtags are working?
Effective hashtags increase the performance and reach of your posts. The right tools can help you launch, track and analyze hashtags across social networks. There are many platforms designed to measure content performance and hashtag effectiveness. One tool is Talkwalker. All the data is easily filtered, sorted, analyzed and charted using the tool. Insights can be seamlessly exported into Excel, PowerPoint and Word so you can manage and present results easily. You may want to monitor your competitors’ hashtags as well.
So, what are you waiting for? Start harnessing the power of hashtags and broaden your reach to millions of potential followers or customers.
Ron Feir, ABR, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, RSPS, SFR, SRES, SRS, is a REALTOR® with Century 21 Gavish Real Estate (offices in Pahrump & Las Vegas) Pahrump, Nev. He was ranked #1 REALTOR® on Earth based on social media engagement by Mondinion.com