Aug 12,2016
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How to use Hashtags to your advantage

The social media is blooming with popularity. It has revolutionized the internet and hashtags are a part of this revolution. Hashtags are a sign immediately followed by a keyword that work as sorters, searchers and guides for people to find what interests them from the hundreds of posts done every day.

Hashtags are everywhere these days - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. For brands on social media, hashtags are a very important tool to increase the reach of their messages. Using the right number of hashtags can boost a brand’s engagement and follower count overnight as they allow your post to be seen by a wider audience.

The 3 Key Marketing Strategies for using Hashtags are:

1. Brand and Campaign specific hashtags
Brand and campaign specific hashtags are the ones that you make for your own business to market your brand and promotions. You can use your company name or tagline already known to people as your brand hashtag. Using it as a signature tag will enable your audience to use it and your brand will get marketed too.

The name of your current marketing campaign can be used as your campaign hashtag. It may be a word or a phrase unique to your short-term contest or promotion. This will enable your customers to engage with you and the other customers.

2. Trending hashtags
A trending hashtag is a hashtag topic that has become very popular. If you come across a trend that relates to your business, engage in it by using the tag as it can potentially get your message seen by a vast audience.

3. Content hashtags
Content hashtags are simply common hashtags related to your content that you use in your posts. They may not be trending or popular and may not be used to define your business or marketing campaign. They, however, improve the SEO of your posts and get them seen by customers searching for the hashtag words.

Here are a few tips to help you know where and how to use hashtags to your advantage:

1. Hashtags on Twitter
Buddy Media’s research showed that the volume of hashtags bear monitoring. Tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement than tweets without them. However, you must use a maximum of one or two hashtags because using more than that can drop your engagement by an average of 17%.

2. Hashtags on Instagram
Instagram is another hotspot to use hashtags after Twitter and the best part is, you do not have to restrict the number of hashtags to a specific number.

3. Hashtags on Facebook
Facebook posts without hashtags perform better than those with them. A research by EdgeRank Checker found that hashtags have zero positive effect on a post’s reach on Facebook.

4. Hashtags on Google+
Hashtags are automatically added to posts on Google+ based on their content. You can, however, add or edit the hashtags as per the need of the post. Google+ also provides the advantage of using hashtags in comments and posts which doubles the opportunities of your post reaching a larger audience.

Some success stories of leading brands that successfully boost their popularity and marketed their brands using hashtags have been discussed here:

1. #PutaCanOnIt - Red Bull
Red Bull won the prestigious “Best Use of A Hashtag” Shorty Award for its #PutACanOnIt campaign. The hashtag though created by Red Bull, was inspired by a photo the company came across on Twitter wherein the person was holding a Red Bull can above a mini Cooper to make it look as though it was a trademarked Red Bull car. The trend became viral and people around the world created their own images with Red Bull cans placed in unique positions.

2. #ShareACoke – Coca- Cola
Coca-Cola started a campaign for which it has been producing bottles and cans of its products with labels that read “Share a Coke With..” and each can have a different name or title. This campaign not only garnered thousands of tweets but also gave the company an opportunity to create new sub-campaigns.

3. #WantAnR8 - Audi
Audi’s #WantAnR8 campaign is still considered as one of the single most successful Twitter campaigns in history. It started when the company came across a person’s tweet with the hashtag #WantAnR8 to explain why he wanted an Audi R8. The car company quickly started a contest in which the users had to post a tweet with the hashtag to enter for a chance to win an Audi R8 for a day.

4. #NationalFriedChickenDay – KFC
The hashtag #NationalFriedChickenDay started trending and Kentucky Fried Chicken took complete advantage of it. It proved to be an amazing opportunity for KFC as it did not only get its name successfully marketed but also across a million hungry customers.

One question you must always ask while using a hashtag is “Would I search for it?” Thinking of yourself as a customer and understanding the reason why a particular hashtag must be used can help you develop your strategy for all the social media platforms. A hashtag is what will make you, your brand and your post stand out from the rest throughout all the social media platforms. It will work to your advantage against those who do not use a hashtag.


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