Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Using Hashtags to Promote Your Business

Small businesses should be taking advantage of social media, especially Twitter and hashtags. A hashtag is the number sign (#) combined with a word or phrase. At BBB, we often use #BBB or #StartWithTrust at the end of our tweets.  This way, if people are looking to find general business or consumer tips, they will have a list on Twitter to reference.

A blog post by OPEN Forum has five tips to improve your hashtag strategy:

1. Look for business topics.  Hashtags like #smallbiz and #SMB are very popular on Twitter and they can be a good source of industry news. If you are looking for more specific information, try searching for hashtags like #sales, #marketing and #socialmedia.

2. Hashtags must be simple. You only have 140 characters to get the word out on Twitter. Don’t spend 50 of those characters with a long and complex hashtag.  Keep it short and simple.  Also, limit your tweets to 1-2 hashtags. Anymore than that is overkill.

3. Be creative. Make a hashtag for your business. If you’re hosting an event be sure to create a hashtag, so people can tweet about it.  For example, the Massachusetts Conference for Women encouraged attendees to use #masswomen for those who were tweeting about the event.  The hashtag was a great success on Twitter.

4. Monitor your hashtags. If you use a social media suite like HootSuite or TweetDeck, add a hashtag column to closely observe what people are tweeting. Or simply plug your hashtag in the search bar on Twitter.

5. #FollowFriday or #FF. Use Follow Friday to showcase your most loyal followers or other businesses you support. Try to put as many Twitter handles into one tweet as you can. For a more personal approach, only put one or two usernames.  

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