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#Hashtags: Are You Using Them Right?

Hashtags. We’ve all seen them- clogging up Facebook statuses, Twitter and Instagram posts. Often we see people creating their own lengthy sentance long hashtags: #icantbelievemybabyisone #theresnotenoughcoffeeintheworldforthisday. Others prefer to go the route of multiple hashtags in one post: #happy #blessed #beautiful #ilovemyfamily, #tired #ineedcoffee #whyisthesunsobright. So what is the meaning of hashtags? Is it just another pointless social media fad, or does it actually serve a purpose?

Believe it or not, the hashtag functions as a very useful marketing tool. It can be used to stay connected with current and potential clients and customers and make your brand public. A vast number of people in the world engage in social media use on a daily basis. In previous blogs, we’ve covered utilizing current marketing methods to target the appropriate demographics for your business. Hashtags are an important way to do that, and today’s world, the hashtag appeals to the average consumer.

When it was first created, hashtags could only be used on Twitter. They are now used across all social media platforms, and if used appropriately, it serves a valuable purpose. A Hashtag creates a hypertext link to connect users to similar interests. For instance, on Twitter if a user posts a status that says, “Just found the best coffee shop ever! #ilovecoffee,” the hashtag becomes a link that when clicked takes users to a page with every status using that same hashtag. This same basic concept can be used to market your business or promote your brand name. Several things should be kept in mind when using the hashtag to promote your business.

First, the hashtag can be used as a means to draw attention from consumers searching particular statuses. Because of this, the hashtag should not be a general or generic word or prhase such as #working It should instead give specific information such as #branding #marketing #socialmedia #smallbusiness.

Second, the hashtag should be used sparingly and add meaningful information to the status update. It should not be used in every post at the risk of losing reader interest. Not every update needs a hashtag because it will eventually look like spam, and no one likes dealing with spam.

Third, always make sure that the hashtag you choose will lead your readers to something relevant or draw the appropriate clients to your site. Placing a hashtag in front of random words may bring unwanted attention or unintentionally draw a current customer away. Chosen hashtags should be relevant and stick to the topic at hand. They should only add to the information being presented, not distract readers from the main focus. Don’t simply invent a hashtag for the sake of the hashtag. Make sure the hashtag will improve customer experience and reflect on the credibility of your business.

Finally, the chosen hashtag should not be complicated. It should be something that can be related to current trends. Ask yourself the following question before posting a hashtag. Does the hashtag properly represent your brand and appeal to the target demographic? Does it link your clients and business with like-minded people and potential future business?

There are times when creating your own hashtag is appropriate, and this is especially true in the marketing world. Creating a hashtag specific to your brand can be instrumental in promoting your business. For example, you can turn the name of your business or a special promotional product into a hashtag to help generate interest and draw attention to yourself. By using this hashtag, readers will be linked with others who have used this product. When others use the hashtag it will draw attention to your brand.

A business that abuses or overuses the hashtag quickly loses credibility. We have all felt our eyes glaze over while reading a status update wrought with numerous, pointless hashtags. The main concept to keep in mind when using hashtags to promote your business is: Keep it simple. Creativity is important, but in a world rampant with useless information, the general public appreciates when a business keeps things simple and direct. So before you post your next hashtag, stop and consider its meaning.

Just in case you haven’t seen it, here’s how you sound if you’re using hashtags the wrong way: #smileyfacejklol:)

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