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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hashtags - How to Get More Exposure on Social Media

Hashtags were first created by early Twitter user (and entrepreneur) Chris Messina as a way to keep up with new abbreviations and trending phrases. While they were originally implemented into the Twitter platform, hashtags can now be used across a wide variety of social media sites which also include Facebook and Instagram.
In short, a hashtag is a word or phrase that is preceded by a number sign, in the form of #keyword. Hashtags are commonly a single word, something like #marketing, but sometimes they can be comprised of an entire phrase, like KitKat's #HaveABreak.
When you're using hashtags in your content, you're identifying the most important and popular keywords to highlight. Users are able to search through social media, both on individual platforms and on third-party websites which scan many different social communities, and find you by the hashtags you've associated with.
One of the biggest reasons why you should be using hashtags in your social media posts is that you're essentially investing in free advertising for your business. By using keywords that are truly relevant to your product, service, or even just your target customer base, you can connect with a wide range of prospective customers with little more work than adding a few #'s here and there.
By-and-large there are two different types of hashtags that you should be concentrating on: hashtags that consumers can identify with your brand, and hashtags that are currently trending.
In the first category, hashtags which represent your brand are the ones you should be focusing on in the long-term. These are phrases that should be highlighted on a regular basis in your posts and tweets, and will serve as the foundation of your hashtag marketing strategy. These could broadly encompass the industry you're in such as #shoes, or more specifically identify your product such as with #hikingboots. You may even want to use a memorable slogan, something like #KeepYourFeetDry to promote your waterproof hiking shoes.
The second type of hashtag that you should be using is trending terms. These are phrases that are really popular on social media and have the possibility to bring you a lot of traffic in a short period of time. While Twitter provides the most popular hashtags directly on its site, other platforms like Sprout and Trendsmap can make it easy to find out what words and phrases are trending right then across all platforms. It's important to note that you shouldn't be spamming hashtags - using ones that aren't relevant to your business - just for the purpose of gaining traffic.
Lastly, make sure that you're not over-doing it with your hashtag marketing. Using a couple of keywords and phrases in your posts is acceptable, but refrain from stuffing too many in there at once. Not only does this take away from the content your actually trying to promote, but it can also push consumers away who see the practice as spammy and unprofessional. In the end, an effective and thought-out usage of hashtags will generate the best results with the least extra effort and the smallest impact on your marketing budget.
Written by: Tracy  Fieber

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