How to Use Hashtags to Get Real #Marketing #ROI

How to Use Hashtags to Get Real #Marketing #ROI

Social media status updates fade from news feeds quickly; however, you can use hashtags to give everlasting life to marketing content if you understand how to use them appropriately. 

Confusion by the pound? You can use hashtags to get marketing ROI if you understand how they work.

Hashtag #YouAreNotUsingItRight. Getting real marketing ROI using social networks can be challenging, even for seasoned social media marketing pros. Once only found on Twitter, hashtags now have real marketing currency, with a majority of social network and curation sites having adopted them as a content categorization tool; and thus, putting newfound power at the fingertips (as it were) of social media marketers.

You might also like: Social Media Marketing Beyond the Post

Use Hashtags Right, Get Real Social Marketing ROI

What is a Hashtag?

A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the pound (#) symbol.

It is a form of what is called metadata tag which simply means that the form itself (#wordorphrase) becomes a special type of data.  If you add a hashtag like #marketing to a social media status update, you categorize that update, and create a sort of bookmark that people can use to search for data.

Use Hashtags Contributing to Marketing Success

Let’s look at some of our recent Twitter posts as examples:

B2B Marketing Ideas: To Win in B2B,
Make Your Customer the Hero

#b2b #marketing

On its own (without hashtags), the typical lifespan of this Twitter update would be less than an hour.  By adding the words “b2b” and “marketing” – each preceded by a pound sign – we have made it possible for our post to live on, as users who type “b2b marketing” into the Twitter search feed will find our post in their search results (or whichever social network the status update is posted on).

What’s more, by using the hashtags in Google+ social media status updates, we have also helped to boost our content’s lifespan in Google organic search results, thanks to the benefits of Google Authorship.  Notice how our Google+ post turns up in the first page of Google search results for b2b marketing, thanks to Google Authorship and hashtags!

Let’s look at another example. 

By using hashtags #hr (human resources) and #churn, days after our initial status update “died” our post lands us in the top Twitter results for users sorting on either HR + Churn or HR + CRM (customer relationship management).

Stop the Churn! How to Find
and Fix the Problem of Customer
and Employee Defection

#churn #hr #crm

And we achieved similar results for hashtags #restaurant #marketing, keeping the post below alive as it is now cataloged thanks to the categorical assignment of our hashtags.

Restaurant Marketing: 6 Reasons
to Create Customer Cravings
with LTO Restaurant Menu Items


How to Find the Right Hashtags

While it’s ok to create unique or lengthy hashtags, if your goal is to increase marketing ROI by incorporating hashtags into blog posts and social media updates, then it’s important to remember that if no one is likely to search for your hashtag word or phrase, it’s not helping you (from a marketing standpoint).

There are several online hashtag tools you can use to find trending hashtags or find out which hashtags – relevant to your content – have the most searches, and therefore, make it more likely for your content to be found in searches. You can use these sites in basically two different ways:

1.  Look for trending hashtags, and create content around trending topics for your industry; or,
2.  Find the most popular relevant hashtags to assign to your blog articles or social media status updates.

How to Use Hashtags (and what not to do)

Do use hashtags together to better categorize content (such as the combination of #hr and #churn or the example of #restaurant along with #marketing in the examples above).

Try not to use too many hashtags in a blog article or social status update. While there aren’t rules against it, it makes status updates difficult to read and is considered bad practice.  Experts generally recommend using no more than two or three hashtags in a given status update.

Mix and match hashtags.  Chances are you will post more than social media status update on the same topic or blog post; change up the hashtags you use so that your content appears in more categories.

Create unique hashtags and use them in conjunction with broader terms.  For example, #DBSquared #business #financing where our name is a unique hashtag that someone might search for but no other companies or authors would likely be using, along with business and financing which is, of course, our specialty!

Keep your hashtag relevant.  Don’t try to hijack the content of other authors or companies by misusing hashtags or annoy people by adding a hashtag just to get attention.  This can get your posts or updates categorized as spammed by social networks or cause social media followers to hide or even report and block your updates.

Use Hashtags Because They Are Also Great For…

Besides helping to categorize content and social media posts, hashtags can help bring traffic to your website, blog and social profiles when you use it to promote happenings, such as:

  • Contests – where the hashtag precedes the contest name, like the Kentucky Fried Chicken® scholarship contests which used the hashtag:  #KFCScholar
  • Sweepstakes and drawings that rely on shares and retweets to win
  • Networking based on special days like #SOTuesday (shout out Tuesday) or #FollowFriday (#FF for short), where you have the opportunity to send a shout out to another social media user or suggest profiles that your followers should follow
  • To hold a Twitter chat
  • For Live Tweet events
  • To research competitors

Hashtags are very simple, but very powerful. Use them to boost your marketing ROI by including them in blog posts and social status updates.