business messaging blog
Marketing with Hashtags: The How-to
Scott Navratil

Social media has forever changed the way we market to customers. Twenty years ago, words like hashtag, trending, tweeting, or even chatting meant totally different things. But now, social media is an extremely powerful form of marketing. It is the place you go to communicate with current customers, which a machine learning company can help you get set up, so you don’t have to have customer service reps on 24/7 to answer questions. And it is also a really great place to get new customers.

One of the things we see on social media is the hashtag. Many people use it wrong and aren’t even sure how to appropriately tag things. Yet, it can still be used as an extremely powerful marketing tool, especially when used appropriately. Here’s what you need to know.

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is the pound symbol followed by a word or phrase without any spaces. The hashtag can then be searched on the internet by that specific tag to bring up anything related to it. It was born at Twitter when customers wanted to be able to reference a specific incident or movement with a quick hashtag but has since spread through all social media platforms. You have likely seen people using them incorrectly by using tags such as #iatetoomuchpizza. These tags, while funny, don’t serve the original purpose of being able to find all posts related to the same topic or event. It is amazing how powerful they can really be when used properly.

#Metoo campaign

One example of how powerful a hashtag can be when done properly is the #metoo campaign. Actress Alyssa Milano wanted to bring awareness to and start conversations about men’s behavior towards women after the allegations came out against Harry Weinstein came out. She called on women to either silently use #metoo on their social media accounts or, if they felt comfortable, to post their stories with it. This became a phenomenon, and within a few short days, millions of women and even a few men had posted it to their social media accounts. It was able to do exactly as intended by starting a great conversation and creating more awareness.

While it would be nice to be able to get that kind of traction from a social media campaign, your business likely won’t have something to share that is so relatable, and unless you are a political company, it’s better to stay away from the hot topics, so you don’t lose customers. So what can you do?

What to do with hashtags

You’ll need to decide what kind of hashtag you can use and how your business can present it. Pick something related to your company or the product you are pushing and try to get clever. One really great way to push a hashtag campaign is through a sweepstakes. Have people take a picture of some sort, such as using your product, and make sure they use your hashtag and tag your business in it. It will give you great advertising. Your current customers will use it to try and win the prize and potential future customers will join in when they realize they could win something for free. Make sure one of the requirements is for the customer to follow your business, and you’ll have an instant influx of customers.

Another way to push a hashtag is through an issue of some sort. You could donate money for every person who uses your hashtag or find a cause that is worth pushing and create a hashtag for it. Customers like seeing that your business is actively involved in helping others, and people are much more likely to get on board if it is doing good for others.

The key is to find something people will care about and start pushing that hashtag to create a campaign. If successful, you might start seeing your hashtag on many different social media platforms and will gain many new customers.

Chantel Fullilove

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