A Guide to Hashtags for Small Business Owners

What are hashtags and do you need them to market your small business online? If you’re new to social media and the world of digital marketing, take a look at what you need to know about hashtags and how these symbols can help your company to grow.

Hashtags Are More Than Just Symbols

A lot has changed since # was the symbolic equivalent of the word number or was simply known as the pound sign. Now that it’s grown in popularity as the hashtag, the # is much more than just a symbol or a button on a phone. It’s a way to categorize and label content. It’s also a way to direct potential customers to relevant online marketing materials (such as social media posts and images) and a way for people from across the globe to find you and your small business. 

You will find hashtags on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The # followed by a word or a few words strung together (without spaces) are either in the written part of the post, at the end of the post, or the only part of the post. A stand-alone hashtag can create context for an image or video in your post.

Hashtags can increase the reach of your posts and help people to engage in your digital content. This goes beyond simply placing an ad and hoping your future customers will see it. The hashtag can raise awareness for a brand, start a conversation about your business, and allow you to use popular local, national, and even international trends to catapult your company into the digital world. 

Hashtags Require Thought

You can’t place a # symbol in front of anything and expect to see dramatic marketing-related results. Again, hashtags help to categorize social media content. But this does not mean that everything behind the symbol is a relevant, engaging, or noticeable category. A hashtag followed by your company’s name isn’t likely to do much to help your business growth — unless your company is a major international firm or a recognizable brand name. 

Instead of your company’s name or something similar, you need to find hashtags that will help you to find your customers. These should include categories or words your customers may search for, notice, or show interest in. To maximize engagement, you may need to select a variety of types of hashtags that focus on local searches and national trends (provided these are relevant to your business).

If you don’t know how to use hashtags, aren’t sure which ones will attract or engage your customers, or haven’t had success with hashtags for business marketing in the past, you may need to consult with a social media professional. This type of contractor or marketing company should have the experience with and knowledge of hashtags necessary to broaden your digital reach.

Hashtags Are Easy to Overuse or Misuse

You’ve found success with a hashtag — and you’re ready to add more. But you’re not sure how many you need. In the case of the hashtag, more is not always better. Even though it may seem like dozens of hashtags that cover every aspect of your business can grab more attention or reach more customers, overuse is not a strategy to choose. 

Most social media sites restrict the number of hashtags you can use. Too many hashtags can also take up valuable post or character space. Beyond these issues, hashtag overuse doesn’t look professional. This type of amateur post approach may have the opposite effect and turn people away from or off of your brand.

Like overuse, misuse can minimize your marketing efforts. General hashtags may make it almost impossible for customers to find you and boring terms won’t engage your target audience. This is where a professional comes in. Through research and industry knowledge, the social media marketer can help you to craft specific, eye-catching hashtags that promote interactions or boost your digital reach. 

Do you need help with social media marketing and hashtags? Contact Grow Team for more information.