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Who would have thought that a tiny symbol so scarcely used for decades would grow up to become one of the most powerful tools of modern-day marketing? #MaybeNobody. Undeniably the most influential keyboard character of the age, hashtags have transcended the social media platforms that birthed their popularity, popping up in TV shows, movies, T-shirts, political campaigns and even while speaking in-person during face-to-face conversations to stress a point. Hands up if like us, you’re guilty of the latter.

Roughly 13 years since its rise in popularity (depending on which internet sources you trust most), the hashtag is still an effective way to get more eyes and engagement on your social media posts organically. For instance, according to Simply Measured, the world’s best social analytics platform, an Instagram post with just one hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag. That’s pretty impressive. Although it’s quite common to read that hashtags are outdated like other social media fads that faded into oblivion (here’s looking at you Myspace), those statements generally come from people who don’t apply a strong hashtag strategy or use the tool correctly in their social media marketing. We’ve explored some of the benefits and ways in which you can use them to your business’ advantage.

1. Hashtags Expand Your Audience
To prove this point, we added #Marketing to a few of our own social media posts then tapped it and found that the hashtag has been used on 43.4 million Instagram posts – all now neatly grouped for us to peruse and enjoy. Without the hashtag, we never would have found any of the shared Instagram content related to marketing. Consequently, we can now follow the hashtag to keep a steady stream of marketing-related content on our news feed, and follow the people and brands who posted the content, thus increasing their followers.

2. Generating New Business
Hashtags open the door to countless opportunities for acquiring new business. Piggybacking off of what we mentioned in point one, with Coffee Creative Studio being a digital marketing agency servicing clients globally, #Marketing allows all followers and brands of that hashtag around the world to see our content and the work that we do. This may lead to them checking out our page, liking our work and requesting our marketing services for their current and upcoming projects. Voila! New business generation.

3. Boost Your Brand’s SEO
Hashtags are essentially content links, like web page URLs only shorter. More and more
people are using them to find information and Google has caught on. When you search for a hashtag on Google, it not only gives you a list of search results. It also provides a live scrolling feed of Google+ posts containing that hashtag and links to other hashtag feeds on social networks, including Facebook and Twitter. Incorporating hashtags into your brand’s social media posts will mean that you have more opportunities to place your content in Google search results. Additionally, the right hashtags may cause your posts to go viral as more people share it and flock to your website (if you need a website we can help), increasing your website’s traffic which helps raise your SEO ranking.

4. Be #Specific
A lot of people use the same hashtags to promote their content, and with the Trinity (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) growing in user-numbers daily, it’s easy for your content to get lost among the clutter if your hashtag isn’t specific. The more words you use, the lower the number of posts yours has to compete with for attention and the more likely your posts reach their intended audience. Be careful of overusing the same hashtags repeatedly. Instagram can pick this up and shadowban (hide) your posts from users who don’t follow you, resulting in lower engagement. To avoid this, make sure to use precise hashtags. Your hashtags should connect you to your target market and not your followers, as it will be more beneficial for your brand at the end of the day.

5. Create Your Own

Be original, copies fade too fast. Think of some of the most famous hashtag campaigns you remember over the last few years? #ALSIceBucketChallenge, #ShareACoke, #BlackLivesMatter. Even when these hashtags are no longer trending, seeing them or hearing about them instantly connects you with the brands and their message. Creating your own unique hashtags is how your brand becomes more memorable. They also allow you to monitor the performances for your campaigns and increase your brand’s presence on social media.

As you can see, hashtags are still as important as ever for successful marketing on social media. With the right ones, you could either join the conversation, or be the conversation. Not sure which hashtags will work best? Give us a call and let’s talk about social media strategy for your business.

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