Hashtags are always an interesting subject when it comes to marketing and promoting your business. Marketing companies and advertisers commonly use them when promoting companies across a variety of different social media platforms. Understanding where they may be useful and where they fall flat is key to running successful campaigns, especially when it comes to handling things locally.
As I focus mainly on local campaigns for businesses, I tend to avoid using hashtags if I can help it as they tend to bring in an audience that isn’t local, but for a business that has a global reach they can be exceptionally useful. Today we are going to talk a little bit about how to use hashtags, and how they can be utilised locally.
Hashtags for Facebook Marketing
Being a Facebook marketer, I generally find myself perplexed by businesses that constantly fill their Facebook posts with a tonne of different hashtags. Facebook as a platform has a long history of supporting hashtags, but constantly spamming a lot of them on posts can get you into trouble or get the posts marked down as spammy, reducing their overall reach.
You will definitely want to use hashtags sparingly on Facebook. I would only recommend using the hashtags of your local town and business name if you are trying to run a business supported by the local population. Using the wrong hashtags can get you followers from anywhere, and this can end up killing your page and local reach as u pick up people who have no real interest in your business.
Hashtags for Instagram Reach
Instagram is probably my second least favorite advertising platform for a variety of different reasons, but mainly that I have never seen a beneficial result from running Instagram with a company that relies on a local following. Hashtags are king in the world of Instagram, and there are multiple ways of adding them.
You will be wanting to use around 5 to 15 hashtags per Instagram post. You can add some to the original post then include more in the comments, and get some great results if you are going for likes. If you are using Instagram for your business and trying to target local people, keep your hashtags local.
Hashtags on Pinterest
Pinterest is an interesting little platform and it’s worth looking into if you haven’t. Hashtags can be useful on Pinterest as the first four hashtags are used to increase your visibility on the Pinterest search function. I would usually recommend going for local hashtags to try and target a local audience and hashtags for your business name in case people look for you directly.
Hashtags for Twitter
Twitter is my least favourite platform of all. Whilst Instagram can at least provide a decent visual gallery of what a company produces, Twitter just seems to always fall short when it comes to advertising local businesses. As Twitter has a character limit, you will probably want to keep your hashtags to either one or two. Keep things local.
A Word Of Warning
Most digital marketers have a poor level of ethics when it comes to business. They value interactions and reach because these things look impressive and they don’t have to actually provide anything more than these two things to seem like they’re doing a good job, which can be hard to argue against. What’s actually impressive is getting a new customer or turning someone’s opinion about your company from negative to positive.
Many marketers who do not have a decent understanding of hashtags will spam posts full of them, gathering huge reach, positive interactions and followers. This sounds excellent, until you realise the followers aren’t local, and they aren’t interacting with anything after a while which ends up leaving algorithms to mark the posts as spammy. Before you know it, your social media profiles are dead and they are asking for a bigger ad budget so they can recoup the damage and target locally, but with increased ad costs because of their damage. Be careful with anyone who recommends spamming your Facebook full of hashtags. I’ve had to undo a tonne of damage for three of my customers caused by poor Facebook marketing.
There are three main types of hashtag categories. Depending on the kind of post you are releasing, you will want to use the right type of hashtag to ensure the best results.
Branded Hashtags: Your brand identity is always an important part of your business and it can be really useful if the business name is unique and people are looking for you! Branded hashtags are specific to your brand and feature your company name, your campaign tagline, or the name of a specific product or service that is unique to your company.
You want to stay laser focused on things that won’t be misconstrued, and ignore generalising and using tags like #flowers, #quotes or #pizza. A good one for this post would be #sectnews as this is unique. If you share this post on social media use that hashtag! My own business is called Fantasoft, so #Fantasoft would work for me, and #Helixlogos would be good because of the unique service we provide. These kinds of hashtags are great for raising brand awareness and are good for your company.
Trending Hashtags: Viral Content! Breaking News! Current Events! If you are interested in trending topics, say you run a local paper or magazine, then you might be able to utilise these! Usually as a local marketer, I avoid using these kinds of hashtags as the companies I work for don’t cover trending events, however if you are covering this kind of thing you will want to use trending hashtags. They are beneficial if you get a lot of interactions but can also be detrimental if you are not getting a positive result as some social media platforms can see them as spam content, so be careful if you do use them and keep a close eye on your results.
Local Hashtags: Tag the town you are in! No matter what content you work on promoting, if you want local customers, you will want to use these! #colchester will target people looking at Colchester related information, so if I want people to see that my business is in Colchester, then that’s a tag to use. If people like my content then they could become customers! It’s always great to show up locally!
When you tag things remember two things. Never put too many hashtags. They make posts look cluttered and can make things hard to read. Using too many hashtags on platforms like Facebook will make your posts seem excessively spammy and can result in your reach going down if overused. The other thing to remember is try to stay non-political. Many companies have paid the price by getting political in the way they do business. It can be good at times to polarise as a marketer or as a politician, but when it comes to business, you should back the horse that is your customer base, and keep politics to a minimum if possible.
I hope this helps!