Social media is one of the best things to happen to small businesses in recent years. It gives new business owners the power to put their name and products in front of a huge audience. Planning and forming a strategy is the key to making social media work, and Twitter, with its fast flow and short, one-line updates, needs extra planning to make sure that every keystroke counts. Hashtags are one way to improve your marketing impact through Twitter.
On Twitter, hashtags — words preceded by a # symbol — are used for open group discussions about the topic. Hence, hashtags can also be used to create awareness about your product or business through discussion among the users. The best way to begin your hashtag marketing campaign is to decide between three basic hashtag strategies.
The first and the most direct hashtag approach is to use branded or other named entities. Essentially, any word that specifically gives the name of the product, service or company can make a great hashtag. This is usually the first approach a small business owner will try. For example, if “Suzie’s Donuts” is launching a new line of “Goobersmacker” donuts, then #goobersmacker or #suziesdonuts are obvious hashtag choices. Products with names that are interesting or easy to remember, or those that clearly define the product, are especially good, since they give the consumer an idea of what the hashtag means without having to search for details. For example, #bigbeefypizza is a great marketing hashtag, since it describes the product, is easy to remember, and gives an immediate expectation of the product. Direct hashtags have one simple job: to bring a business into view of the consumer.
The second hashtag strategy is the newsfeed approach. Current events, trending topics, and other hot issues are a great way to connect the audience to a new business or product. For example, embroiderers making jackets featuring high school team logos could find popular or trending hashtags for school teams or “back to school” promotions, or make their own to create a connection between the business and their target market. Tweeting encouraging phrases in hashtags, such as #govikings or #lahsfootball, not only helps buyers feel a connection to the business, but also encourages custom from scholar-athletes attending the school in question. There are, however, serious dangers in newsfeed hash tagging. Commenting on current events or pop culture can make a brand feel vibrant and modern, but can also be the source of headaches and bad reputation if an ill-advised tweet offends or irritates potential customers. There is a fine line between being “edgy and modern”, and being irritating and insensitive.
The third and the least direct hashtag method is to use general content hashtags. Any non-specific, popular hashtag in general use fits this category. Locations and place names are an obvious choice,especially for businesses that aim for local buyers, or foot traffic. General product categories can also be helpful for small businesses that are trying to let people know about the availability of specialist products in a particular market. For example, an expatriate British goods importer could use specific imported biscuits, finest tea sets or other hard-to-find imports as a hashtag, especially combined with a specific neighborhood. The resulting hashtags, such as #willowsprings, #mcvitiesbiscuits, or #marmitecalifornia would be useful for buyers who may not even remember the name of the retailer, just that their favorite products are available. The key to successfully using general content hashtags is to identify what makes your business special to your clients; a city name in a city full of similar businesses will not be very successful, whereas a town name for a unique local supplier can be extremely important.
The hashtag is a hyperlink to every tweet, link, and image posted on Twitter about the keyword-related trend, topic or event. With the massive expansion of social media, hashtags can greatly increase the success of your business.