#MakeAStatement: 7 Creative Ways to Harness the Power of Hashtags

Business.com / Social Media / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

When it comes to social media marketing, your hashtags are the key to SEO and visibility of your content. Here's how to use them creatively.

Time for you to #geteducated on harnessing the power of #hashtags.

When it comes to social media marketing, your hashtags are the key to your SEO and visibility of your content, and can be an essential component in building brand awareness across platforms.

Hashtags can also help you spark, search and unite conversations happening across the internet, and can attract new followers to your accounts. 

But don't feel intimidated. You certainly don’t need to overdo it with hashtags. In fact, tweets with a single hashtag tend to get 21 percent more engagement than those with three or more. Get started on your way to becoming a hashtag guru by checking out these four creative ways to harness their power:

Related Article:Are Hashtags Intellectual Property?

1. Start (Or Continue) a Conversation

With a single hashtag, you can organize ongoing discussions, allowing different voices across social media to join in. Using hashtags allows you to keep a steady stream of your social media content in search results so that even those watching can follow along.

Plus, consider that for every person you are directly commenting with on a social network, there are potentially hundreds (if not thousands) of potential customers watching your conversation, hoping to gain insight.

2. Cross-Promote Across Social Networks

Now that so many social media platforms use hashtags as a way to aggregate posts, you can also use them to cross-promote your content. Find (or create) an applicable hashtag that represents your brand, product or service and use it on all of your accounts.

You may find that your followers will begin to adopt it as well. Harnessing the power of hashtags in your social media marketing also helps you see growth on platforms you don’t engage with regularly. For example, on Instagram including just one hashtag can boost your engagement levels by an average of 12.6 percent.

3. Crowdsource Your Content

Set up hashtags that encourage users to upload photos for the chance to be featured on your brand’s profile or homepage. Getting your followers and fans involved in submitting content themselves makes them feel as though they are part of your brand, and also makes it easier for you to regularly update your accounts.

Related Article:Before You Pound: What Your #Hashtag Says About You

4. Ask for Feedback

Social media is a great place to get direct feedback from your customers, but it also allows you to solicit feedback on your new developments and ideas from potential customers, too. Set up a hashtag that reflects the kind of feedback you want users to provide and that is relevant to your brand, and then ask users to chime in with their opinions.

However, you should always proceed with caution when going this route. Many a brand has seen the hashtag they thought was powerful, funny or endearing taken over by internet trolls, rendering their entire campaign useless. Also, be prepared for negative feedback. While this is useful for internal improvement, you don't want new customers to associate this criticism with your brand.

5. Use Locations

If you run a business with a local audience base, hashtag your city or town name to attract local customers. This narrows down your audience targeting from global to local, and gives you the best chance of attracting the people who are most likely to make a purchase.

Search your local area’s hashtag and see what content comes up; you may find an opportunity to engage with government or tourism accounts, or even other local businesses, to help grow your exposure.

6. Go Live at Events

Whether you are attending the Oscars, a massive industry conference, or a small coffee meet-and-greet with other professionals, using hashtags while at an event makes you a part of something bigger. Not only are you getting the benefit of other people using the same tag, perhaps even boosting it to trending status, you also build your authority as a knowledgeable resource who is in the middle of the action.

Most large-scale events, and nowadays even smaller ones, like weddings, have their own standard hashtags to use, so if you can’t actually be there, you can still follow along and remain engaged.

Related Article: From Trump to Branson: Why CEOs Are Tweeting (and You Should Be, Too)

7. Stick With the Trend

When all else fails, check out trending lists to see what people are talking about, and determine whether you can use that popularity to steer some traffic your way. You’ll likely find that most of the trending items are topical, so make sure that your content still sounds authentic if you decide to jump in on a trending hashtag. Remember, trends come and go, so you may find that your topic is out mere minutes after you posted.

Using trending hashtags can also mean taking advantage of recurring standard hashtags that people use, such as #tbt for Throwback Thursday. Again, your content should make sense when paired with these hashtags, and you want to aim for short, punchy contributions to the topic that will make people stop and read.

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