I’m a slow-comer to the use of hashtags. As with any social tool, I still think you need to be strategic about whether to use or not use them. (See my post, To Hashtag or Not to Hashtag) But, since most major social channels now support the use of hashtags, I’d say that learning how to use them well is worthwhile.
The power of hashtags is that they aggregate related conversations. This can help you track what people are saying about you as well as people who are talking about your topic who may not yet know you.
Use an Existing Hashtag
You can use an existing hashtag to join a conversation. This is a good strategy to help you find people who are engaged around a topic. Finding existing hashtags is easy – just look at what’s being used on the social channels you are on. Always look at some tweets with the tag before you use it; some may not cover a topic positively or in a context that you are comfortable with.
Or, Create Your Own
You may also want to create your own hashtag. This can be a helpful way to gather the people engaged with you in one place. Approach this strategically.
- List potential hashtags that are based on your business name, event, etc. Including the year works for hashtags that will be reused yearly (for annual events, for instance) but should be avoided otherwise.
- Use the search on Twitter and the other social channels you engage on to see if and when your hashtag has ever been used. You want to pick one that is new or rarely used.
- Tell your community. List the hashtag on all of your online and offline communication. Where space allows, tell people the value of using the tag. Will you answer questions that have the tag? Enter tag users in a monthly drawing? Create awareness as well as motivation. And, don’t forget to use the tag relentlessly yourself.
- Track use of the tag using your favorite social media monitoring tool(s). Acknowledge use of the tag. Share content with the tag and add the tag to great content that omits it.
For more great advice on using hashtags for your business, see http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/socially-stephanie-secret-using-hashtags-your-business/ .