Hashtags not just for Twitter

September 18, 2013 Ronda Online Presence

Everywhere you look you see #this and #that. So, what’s all the #fuss?

Although hashtags (# followed by a word or string of words with no spaces) are nothing more than a way to group messages by topic, they can be a fantastic marketing tool. Hashtags can enhance an online conversation by getting people involved, but more importantly, hashtag phrases are searchable. Being able to filter all the noise away from an online conversation is marketing gold in today’s online arena. Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, videos and more show up on page one of search results, allowing anyone wanting more information on the topic to jump right in.

Although hashtags started on Twitter, individuals and companies are using them on Facebook, Google+ and other platforms.  If you are new to hashtags, here are some tips from Google’s Friday 15:

  • You can contribute to an existing hashtag conversation or create your own.
  • If you choose to create your own, search it to make sure it is not already in use.
  • If you create a hashtag, be prepared to spread the word and promote it.
  • When using your hashtag in a post, incorporate it naturally. For example, ”Learn more about our training at #ASBTDC” is better than, “#ASBTDC Learn more about our training.”
  • Stay on topic. Do not use your hashtag to promote other areas of your business or other products. For example, people following #cutekittens don’t want you to include #funnypuppies just because you think they might like it. Companies, especially, need to make sure they are not “spamming” by adding unrelated hashtags to try to market more aggressively.

As a small business owner, you might be wondering what you can do with hashtags. First of all, you can search them for topics relevant to your own business or to become familiar with their usage. You can also team up with other businesses to start a #ShopLocal campaign or other project to help generate buzz. Or, you could generate hashtag conversations around your brand, product or industry topic. Mashable posted an interesting infographic for those interested in creating their own hashtags and suggests that you make your hashtag memorable and integrate it with other marketing tools you currently use.

Not sure if hashtags and other social media tools are right for your business? Join us for our “Introduction to Social Media Marketing” workshop on Sept. 25 in Fort Smith.  ASBTDC is offering this training at no charge, thanks to special funding from the U.S. Small Business Administration. This seminar is one of 16 free small business education programs ASBTDC is hosting in Sebastian County. For more information, visit http://asbtdc.ualr.edu/training.

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Ronda

About Ronda Hawkins

Ronda Hawkins, training coordinator for the ASBTDC at Arkansas Tech University, has experience in sales, business administration, business management, business education, and small business ownership.

ASBTDC, online presence, small business,

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