Hashtags are a powerful tool. At one time, only avid social media users were aware them. Nowadays, they’re everywhere.
Despite the widespread popularity of hashtags, few brands and businesses know how to use hashtags skillfully.
1. Study Industry and Organization Hashtags.
If you attend conferences or belong to trade organizations, there is almost certainly a corresponding hashtag associated. Search these hashtags to gather contacts, monitor buzz, and learn about other commonly used topical hashtags.
2. Monitor Your Peers/Competition.
Want to know what your peers are doing right or wrong? Check out their brand, and campaign hashtags. Take note of sentiment and volume.
3. Follow Industry/Brand Keywords
Tracking keywords can yield amazing insight into what’s trending for the topic, what content is viral, and who’s the most popular sharer of that content. Example: If you sell sporting goods, watch #basketball.
4. Track Hashtags Geographically.
Paying attention to hashtag use within a certain area is a great way to build local business. You can filter posts that are geo-tagged, and search by secondary hashtag use that includes location. Example: a restaurant in NYC seeking to connect with influential tourists would look at instagrammed posts tagged #NYC #travel.
5. Build Your Own Influencer Lists.
Hashtag studies give you the opportunity to identify thought leaders, influencers, potential partners, and potential customers. Create Twitter lists to follow and stay in contact.
6. Engage Intelligently!
Having identified the influencers and thought leaders, you are now in a position to engage. Use the same hashtags that they are using. Note: offer advice and socialize – no overt selling!
7. Create Your Own Branded Hashtag.
Use a branded hashtag of your own to make it easy for others to find your content/advice. This hashtag also acts as a fast way to filter & share the body of your work on platforms like Twitter or Instagram for better overall brand identity.
8. Create a Community Hashtag.
Invite followers to share their content, images, and knowledge. It’s an excellent way to grow community, and build authority within your niche.
9. Participate in a Live Chat.
Industry, and topic specific live chats are an excellent way to find kindred spirits, and make meaningful contacts. Pick one or two chats that mesh with your interests and schedule and try to join in regularly.
10. Start Your Own Regular Chat.
Consider hosting your own chat or live virtual event – even if it is only once a month. This will build brand authority, and grow your community even further.
Many people, even those in the know, don’t consider these ways of using hashtags. They are stuck in the mindset that hashtag study exists only to prove campaign success, and measure impressions. Employing even a few of these tactics will be sure to give your brand a competitive edge!