Scroll through your personal news feed on Facebook and you’re likely to come across updates from friends, peppered with hashtags. A quick pass through my news feed just this morning found #lovingmaryland, #cheers, #friendsforlife, #alwaysthereforme. Consumers of social media are using hashtags to express feelings, humor, and point at the things in life they care about. As a business owner, hashtags provide an opportunity to connect with prospects on a deeper level.
Here’s a look at tools for using hashtags and how to use hashtags with small business marketing.
Find an analyze the most used hashtags on Twitter using Hashtagify.me The free version of hashtagify provides useful data on usage trends and related trends. Applying this tool to a small business owner, consider a travel agent. A search for the hashtag #vacation reveals several alternate hashtags, and a measurement of how often these hashtags are used. We also find twitter users who are planning a vacation or in the throes of one. The travel agent can begin to connect with users who are seeking vacation advice or who are in the planning stages.
The paid version of Hashtagify connects you to a list of the top 100 influencers using the hashtag and can be used to support strategic influencer relations. In addition, by monitoring the activities of the influencers, we learn what kinds of tweets around the topic are receiving the most engagement.
Analyzing the content around a hashtag can help inspire future content. Now that you know what has grabbed the attention of your audience, you can create content to reach them. Use the tool to optimize your updates on other social media channels.
Tagboard.com gives you the very latest useage of hashtags across several platforms. Use this tool to gather ideas for using a hashtag from how others are currently using it. Hashtags are not a one-size-fits-all for every channel. Filter the results by social media channel to learn how the hashtag is used differently on each channel. Stumbling with writer’s block? Tagboard is a great tool for finding content inspiration.
Using Hashtags for Small Business Marketing
How do we use hashtags specifically for small business marketing? Here are a few suggestions.
- Benchmark the competition – stay up to date on what your competition is doing
- Content inspiration – find out how others are using hashtags
- Connecting with prospective clients
- Optimizing your social media posts with current hashtag trends
- Keyword research
A look behind-the-scenes with Facebook marketing hashtags show their value as clickable and useable search tools. With this functionality, we can connect with Facebook users and pages that have an interest in a hashtag topic. Top trending hashtags can also be a valuable addition to Facebook advertisements. Use Facebook Insights to monitor reach growth and engagement and confirm that the hashtags you are using are working.
In a search for #vacations on Facebook, we first see several celebrity posts in our results. Consider the update below from actress Angie Harmon. Big brands like @USairways should take these opportunities to comment on the update or share the post. Small businesses targeting mommies and young girls, could embed the post in their own social media marketing or use the content to inspire their own content.
Use of hashtags has been quickly adopted by users of Twitter (the site of origin), Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. On LinkedIn, it is not used as widely. This could be because LinkedIn already offers significant search functionality, and hashtags seem to be saved for more casual conversations and not in professional networking.
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