How to use hash tags to increase your online presence?

Hashtags have been a part of social media for quite some time, but how and where they are used has changed over the years. In the past hashtags were exclusive to Twitter, but now hashtags are often used on other social networks, In many cases they are even used in a casual blog post to simply make a point or add some humor. They’ve evolved over the years in many different ways, so what strategy you had related to hashtags could very well be outdated. You have to make sure that your strategies aren’t causing you missed opportunities. Now more than ever, it’s important that you business understand how to use them properly to drive traffic and improve the value of your brand.

A  brief History: How the Hashtag and Its Use Has Changed Over the Years

According to Quicksprout, tweets with hashtags double engagement rate, so it’s clear that Twitter is the kind of hashtags. As discussed above, however, hashtags are not longer used only for Twitter. Now, you can use a hashtag in just about any setting and people know what it means. In other words, if I said #SEOContest right here in my article everyone would understood what I meant—I’m talking about an SEO Contest that I want you to go look up on all sorts of different social networks.

This of course brings me to my next point: Hashtags are now used on the majority of popular social networks including Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Google+ (although if you type in the “#” symbol it changes to a “+”). All of the benefits and ways you can use a hashtag on Twitter now transfer over to these platforms. In general, the way you use them and the reasons you use them remain the same on all the different networks.

Top 6 Ways to Use a Hashtag to increase your online presence

Below are some of the most popular ways that your business can start using hashtags to propel your company forward in 2014:

1.     Use hashtags for specific campaigns.

One of the biggest ways to really use hashtags to your advantage is to associate a hashtag with a particular marketing campaign. Hashtags can help get the conversation going and get people involved by using the hashtag to help promote, and the more specific the hashtag the more likely people will want to get involved. One example I like is something by Edge Shave Gel a few years ago. This isn’t necessarily the most popular product or topic of conversation, so they chose the hashtag #soirritating and said anyone who used it would receive a reward.

This is also an excellent way to find people who search for that hashtag or use the tag. These people are extremely relevant and targeted, so you can really reach out and put out content based on this audience.

2.     Use hashtags to monitor and track that engagement.

As discussed in the last point, this type of data can help draw you to a targeted audience if you monitor and track it correctly. I recommend checking out this article, which explains in detail some tools you can use to help you. A few of the tools discussed include Rebelmouse, Tagboard, and Talkwalker.

3.     Use them offline to encourage participation.

One thing that many people forget is that hashtags should be referenced in offline marketing as well. If you have a campaign going on and are trying to encourage participate through a hashtag, then remind people of that hashtag whenever you can. This means that if you’re paying for a television ad, newspaper ad, or even sending out flyers, put that hashtag on those ads so that people know what to look up when they are online. By now most people knows what it means when they see a hashtag, so you can put it anywhere to help build momentum for a campaign you’re running.

4.     Tip: Your hashtags should be conversational and unique.

If you’re trying to create a hashtag for a specific campaign, you absolutely have to make sure the hashtag you’re creating doesn’t overlap with another meaning. It’s also important to remember that people need to want to use your hashtag, so you don’t want it to be too long (this is especially true with Twitter because there is a character limit). You might have a great plan to use a hashtag and create a contest that you’ll monitor and find new connections with, but getting these little nit-picky things wrong could make all the difference in your success.

5.     Encourage your team to follow these tips on all social networks and use the hashtag to connect with relevant users.

When it comes time to create your campaign, you’ll want to talk with your social media managers or SEO team (whoever is in charge) about suing hashtags on all social networks. Even though Twitter might be the most popular and yield the most results, that doesn’t mean that something won’t take off on another platform. Your team needs to be reminded of this so that the hashtag is being used wherever possible.

It’s also worth noting that you can always see who is using your hashtag. Have your team continually look at who is participating and then make sure you add them into your cirlces, follow them, or friend them. You will have a better chance that these people will reciprocate if you take the initiative.

6.     Use hashtags to get involved in other conversations.

Remember that you can use hashtags for other reasons aside from just hashtags for your company or your company’s campaign. If there is a big event going on, use a hashtag that is trending as well as your hashtag (but only if it’s relevant), or get involved in conversations that are related to your company. If there is a hashtag out there trending that says #IdontgetSEO and you’re an SEO company, respond!

Have you seen any positive benefits thanks to your strategy with hashtags? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.