Ultimate Guide to Hashtags: Small Business Marketing
How to capture the right audience, grow your following and drive engagement on Social Media.
Every business has its own unique branding and audience. The best way to market your business is to appeal to the right people at the right time. With the social media industry growing at a rapid rate, widely used platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are prime outlets for engaging with your target audience.
With millions of users on each of these sites, how do you capture the right viewers for your business? This is where hashtags come in. Studies show that posts using one or two hashtags typically receive 2x more engagement than posts without hashtags.
What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is a pound sign followed by a word or phrase (i.e. #puppies). Hashtags are commonly used on Twitter and Instagram to group similar posts together into one feed. This way, if someone searches a particular word they can see an entire feed with related posts. So if I searched #puppies I could easily see posts from people who are posting about puppies.
Ideally hashtags would connect people with like minds to find certain topics they are interested in and drive business for business owners. However, as you can see from our puppy example over 17 million posts populated from that hashtag search. If you’re a small local business trying to drive local traffic to your store, using broad hashtags can be less effective since your post may get lost in the millions of posts on each platform. You can also be discovered by people across the globe who may like your posts but have no intention of coming to your store. So keep in mind what your business goal is on social media before choosing your hashtags.
Tips for local businesses:
- Use relevant hashtags- For any business, you want to use relevant hashtags to your interests, products or services. If you use irrelevant or miscategorized hashtags, your business will appear to the wrong audience or make it more difficult for users to find you.
- Use local hashtags. (i.e. If you are a fishing store in Key Largo, Florida- #floridakeysfishing or #keylargo)
Tips for ECommerce businesses:
- Relevant hashtags
- Hashtagging specific product brands
Quality Over Quantity
Have you ever seen a post that has 5+ hashtags that are all closely related? For example, you may have seen that one friend who goes to the gym everyday and takes a gym selfie and hashtags on every post: #gym #fitness #fitfam #workout #fitnessmotivation #getfit #fit #training #exercise #weightloss #healthy #healthychoices #health.
This can be overkill. Studies show that posts with more than two hashtags can actually lead to a 17% engagement drop. You want to make sure you are not overwhelming your audience with a handful of hashtags, which can make the post difficult to read. One to two hashtags per posts have been found to yield optimal results and a 21% higher engagement rate. We recommend doing some research and honing down on the hashtags that would be most relevant to your business or specific post.
- Make sure your account is set to public for your posts to appear on hashtag searches
- Keep in mind character limits (especially on Twitter). Try to keep your hashtag short and to the point to avoid having a lengthy, difficult to read hashtag (i.e. #doughnutsarethebestthingintheworld
- Punctuation and symbols with break up the hashtag. (i.e. #ben&jerry the hashtag will end after “ben”)
Use these tips to get your hashtag on to help generate more leads by connecting to people who are searching for things related to your business.