Are Hashtags the Answer to Your Social Media Marketing?

With so much content being uploaded onto social media sites every hour, businesses need to be able to stand out from the crowd. Making your brand visible is only a small part of keeping your audience engaged in the content you are providing but it is crucial.
Bird holding a hashtag
From Twitter and Instagram to Google+ and Pinterest, the humble hashtag has provided businesses with insights into what their target audience is interested in and what they are talking about. In this article, we consider 3 ways that ‘hashtagging’ content can improve your social media marketing strategy and increase engagement.
1. Optimise Your Posts:
With most people using social media on a daily basis, it is important that your content is interesting enough to be shared and promoted online.
To begin with you will need to decide how you’re going to use the hashtag. Will it be to promote a new service or product? Are you advertising an event? These kinds of ventures usually greatly benefit from the addition of a custom hashtag as it narrows down the audience of your posts. I know this sounds like the complete opposite of what you should be doing but instead of advertising your company to the whole world you want to focus primarily on the people who will use and benefit from it.
But how do you advertise a heavily-descriptive event or service in the most efficient way? With a mere 140 characters available on a tweet, your hashtag needs to be as short as you can possibly make it. Most companies use memorable abbreviations, as they save themselves, and their customers, from sacrificing characters in the main body of their posts. If you decide to do this your hashtag campaign should have a definite correlation to your brand or product so that your customers can find you easily and join the online community that discuss similar services.
Shout loudspeaker
2. Increase Brand Awareness:
The beauty of hashtagging is that you can extend the visibility of your posts. With tweets containing hashtags showing a 12% higher engagement rate than those without, you can reach a much wider audience in a simpler and more effective way.
Your brand’s hashtag should have the same value as your name. Creating your own memorable hashtag will help you enhance brand awareness so making it visible on your business card, website or your email signature will make you stand out in the crowd in this competitive marketplace. Using it this way will endorse your brand not only to potential customers but reinforce its uniqueness to existing ones.
Hashtag branded promotions are everywhere at the moment and work really well not only for bigger companies but small, local businesses. Offering an incentive to customers who use your hashtag, such as a free voucher to a randomly chosen winner, will encourage more and more people to post. When a company’s hashtag shows up on a user’s newsfeed it is likely that followers of that person will click out of interest.
3. Build Relationships with Customers:
In recent years, many companies have used hashtags as a way to get involved directly with their customers. Whether it’s through competitions or online interviews with celebrities or company directors (also known as ask me anythings – or AMAs), everyone is interacting online at the moment with an increasing number of people following hashtag threads to keep updated on news and further developments.
Twitter has become the ‘go to’ place for customer service queries, with larger companies like EE and even Cadbury’s replying to consumer tweets about their mobile contracts and allergy information. Building a
relationship with your customers will enable you to increase sales of products and direct your communication at the right people.

Shaking Hands
Staying on top of hashtag trends is a great way to optimise your engagement. Searching for relevant hashtags can let you monopolise on high traffic and focus on those that you want to target. Joining in conversations with users already engaged with these topics will increase your chances of being found and extend your possible customer base.
Whether you’re tweeting, updating your Google+ profile or writing a Facebook status, adding a URL which connects back to your website will always give the customer a chance to learn more about what you’re promoting. Who knows, you may find yourself intriguing your followers enough that they want to check out your products themselves!  
Have any more ways that hashtags can build your social media marketing? Please share your comments below…


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