23 Jan Are you a #hashtagnovice?
You may have noticed what used to be known as the pound sign on your phone showing up all over social media channels, print ads, and in the corner of the screen on your favorite TV show. Welcome to the # (hashtag). If you aren’t utilizing hashtags on your social media channels you’re not making the most of your social media campaigns!
What is a hashtag?
The pound sign turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link. This allows you to organize content and track discussion topics based on those keywords. Although hashtags are most commonly used on Twitter you can also utilize hashtags on Facebook and Instagram.
Five Ways to Start Using Hashtags
1. Seek Industry Specific Conversations
See what’s trending in your industry by searching hashtags. Search hashtags like #yarn, #knitting, #crochet, #sewing, and #yearofmaking to see what people are making, talking about, and crafting. Broad hashtags can generate an overwhelming number of tweets every day, but tuning in once in a while is a great way to get a quick update. Scroll through the posts and you might find inspiration for your next blog post, marketing tactic, or product.
2. Keep it Simple and Consistent
When creating hashtags for your own tweets it’s important to keep a few things in mind. First, keep your tags simple and direct. In a tweet about our last blog post about the decline of Facebook and shifting your online advertising budget we used the hashtags #craftingisabusiness, #lyso, #marketing, and #yarnindustry. Stay away from excessively long hashtags like #adviceforcraftingbusinesses or #marketinghelpforcraftingindustry.
Second, don’t use too many hashtags. Excessive tagging can look like desperate marketing, and is a sure way to lose followers.
3. Create Your Own Hashtag
Brands both large and small choose to create their own hashtags for several reasons. Hashtags are a great way to generate buzz. If you’re hosting a knit-a-long, think about creating a hashtag for your KAL-ers to use, which will allow you and others to view participants’ photos by searching the hashtag.
You can also use a hashtag to launch a contest by asking people to tweet with a specific hashtag when they submit ideas, photos, or captions.
Events are another great opportunity for creating conversations around hashtags. Create a unique hashtag for your event like #quiltmarket2014 or #TNNAindy2014. During the event, encourage participants to tweet photos of signage or swag using the hashtag so that people will be able to follow interesting activities and discussion virtually as well! People in attendance both physically and virtually will be able to follow interesting activities and discussion.
Get creative! Last spring Franklin Habit started a rousing Twitter discussion by replacing parts of song titles with yarn related vocabulary using the hashtag #classicyarnsongs. It got people excited and connected people in a fun and silly way.
4. Organize by Hashtag
One of the most convenient ways to stay on top of relevant hashtags is to designate easily accessible columns within your social dashboard. Whether you use HootSuite or TweetDeck, you can establish columns by social network, search term, Twitter list or hashtag.
Add a business related hashtag column to check when you have a spare minute. You can add further columns as they become relevant, like when you are running a hashtag marketing campaign or contest, then delete the column when the hashtag has run its course.
5. Join in on Follow Friday
In January 2009, Micah Baldwin announced on Twitter that he would suggest people to follow every week from then on. The Follow Friday trend soon took off with the hashtag #FollowFriday, but is now more commonly shortened to #FF.
The Follow Friday movement is still alive and well– and it’s a great way for your small business to join the conversation and get its name out there!