Twitter Tips: Using Hashtags for Your Small Business

Posted on January 20th 2013

Twitter Tips: Using Hashtags for Your Small Business

It is no secret that social media sites are becoming popular by the day; these platforms are being used for more than just meeting new people. Businesses around the globe are starting to utilize them as a way to increase their marketing efforts and help to get their brand noticed online. This is considered to be a tool that small businesses can use to increase their market reach and build a larger global market. Twitter is without a doubt one of the most popular social media platforms available. People are given this powerful tool to voice their ideas and opinions and update their current activities, which is also a good way to introduce your small business’ products and services. One of the best ways to get noticed is to create an online trend, which refers to the ability for a user to make use of hashtags to get their business known.

Using the Hashtag

A hashtag is simply a word or phrase that has a “#” prefix at the front. For e.g. #microsoft or #apple. Primarily, the main purpose of using a hashtag is to make sure that a conversation around a specific topic or word can easily be tracked. Twitter users can easily use this marketing tool to track the conversations about their business and get a good understanding of their popularity online. You can use this to increase awareness of your small business online. One of the best ways to create a buzz around your business with the use of hashtags is to promote your business’ products or specials. The global reach that Twitter offers its users allow you to reach a wider audience and thereby increasing your exposure. Another benefit of using hashtags is the ability to be part of a current trending topic that your small business may be related to.

By introducing your business to the trend, it will allow people to associate your brand and create awareness. Always remember to use the correct hashtag. Topical tags are usually the best way to go about the process, and this means that it has this bigger reach in the overall market. Use these tags as part of your tweet, rather than just using them separately. It will be easier for readers to become informed about what your business is or what you are trying to say when they can read it in context as a complete tweet. Finally, remember to track the hashtag’s progress to see if it’s effective for your marketing goals. There are various tools that can help you do this online, but Twitter can also provide you with this information. It’s a great way of measuring your reach on this social media platform and you can easily keep an eye on conversations regarding your product, service, or brand.

Benefits of Using Hashtags for Business

• The most important benefit of using hashtags is to create awareness for your brand. By using this tool you can make it easy for people to re-use it and mention your brand or company in their own conversations and tweets online.

• You can keep track of your reputation. Hashtags make it easy for you to monitor what people are saying when they talk about you or your brand. If there are any negative statements or customers who are unhappy with a product or service, you will be able to pick it up and put in some effort to rectify the issue or put the customer at ease.

• Hashtags allow you to measure your reach. You can keep an eye on all the conversations around your chosen keywords or topics and find out where your business is being mentioned, by who, and how often. This is a good indication of how far your business’ reach is and what your target market looks like. Businesses are increasingly seeing the benefit in this.

• Make your tweets easier to find. Hashtags allow you to easily find previous tweets and it also categorises your tweets for your followers to find. Leads, customers, and prospects can easily join in the conversation by using your hashtags in their own discussions.

• When you have a new product or service available you can easily create new hashtags so that your followers and customers will be able to easily and effortlessly identify them and be updated on new updates and developments within your business. The more hashtags are being used on Twitter, the more it will encourage the use of better statistics, control, and a better understanding of this tool in general.

People all over the world can benefit from hashtags and it should be a positive and useful experience for everyone – regardless whether you are using it for personal or business purposes. With social media being such a powerful online tool, this is becoming a very popular way of expanding your market reach, keeping an eye on conversations around your business, and allowing people to easily follow updates around your business.

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Comments

Great read! I have told my clients this time and time again. I couldn't agree more. Thanks for the great insight. 

 

 

James Harper 

Very useful article, thank you SMT and Lorien!

Hashtags are really useful for finding like-minded people and getting your brand involved in relevant social conversations.

But they can be overused / misused, and this is where things can go badly wrong from a reputation point of view.  Be warned!

I also wrote on this topic on by Digital Musings blog: http://digitalmusings.net/hashtag-tastic/

Keep the posts coming folks!

Thanks for sharing this! Lorien it hepled me a lot ;)

Hi Lorien,

Thanks for the execellent article. Early last year, we wrote a simple tutorial for dealers, equally useful artifle for any business, that shows them how to setup a Twitter page.

It is surprising that still many businesses ignores social media and do not spend anytime in planing and executing a social media strategy.

Here is the link to our article, your feedback will be much appreciated:

http://www.autojini.com/cms.cfm/pageId/3970/fuseaction/blog.viewPost/entryID/157/Dealers_Setup_Your_Twitter_Account_in_7_Easy_Steps.html

Syed Azam
President, AutoJini.com

For those representing small businesses in Twitter (and other channels), and those in PR too -  whether as their profession, or lean startups, etc., solopreneurs, and anyone aiming to reach beyond their followers with smarter, far-reaching hashtags, I would suggest a look at http://ritetag.com, a social media tool site that takes your query and networks you intend to post to, and shows you recently used hashtags.  You can click any tag to see who is using them, how many times each, what they're tagging, and when the tag has been used.  Still in private beta, people register for free with Twitter.  Ritetag offers tag optimization for Twitter, Google+, Instagram - and six other social networks. 

Many more networks with topic hashtagging are in the plans for integration, as our first users tell us how they need to tag their photos, images, and hand-made goods better to get seen more, and thus sell more.  Rather than rush to add every social network with an open API, we focus on relevancy and honing the results in the RiteTag Reports.

As an example, even without registering (free) for RiteTag, you can use the public Ritetag Report for 'contentmarketing' to get your tags and go. Sign up to order your own reports for hashtags related to your query - on any/all of the nine social networks already integrated, and also to save content "collections" and "tag sets" in RiteTag. http://www.ritetag.com/report/0147c89a6410f91ff226d9ce4902b2020632ebfb

Thanks Lorien.

Just how popular the hashtags are, you can see by just searching the web for tools to monitor, search or follow them. As a developer I had been asked by some of my Twitter friends to create for them a custom tool to enable them to quickly search for relevant tweets, filter them and re-tweet or reply. Since then hashTag Monitor became a commercial software b/c the versatility and power of hashtags made them very popular as a tool for sharing (and re-sharing RT) content as much as for Twitter chats (I had been asked to provide a way to filter tweets only from a selected list, either created from scratch or by importing/combining Twitter lists). The hash tag are so popular now that I don't think that I saw a single screen of tweets without at least a few of them. 

 

Thank again Lorien

If you are interested in our hashTag Monitor you can find it at 

hashTag Monitor 1.0

This was a great read! Hashtags are a much more useful tool than I originally realized with the ability to track every comment containing it! I would really like to see what people actually think of my brand and since they tend to be more honest on social media platforms, hashtags are a great way. I originally thought hastags were very unusual and didnt know what to make of them, but now I see how innovative and brilliant they are. Thanks for the article!

Great post!  Also helpful for local business to include location when possible.

Thank you Lorien

One of the ways we use the hashtags is to find out who the influencers are.  Who is actually re-tweeting your messages and how big of a following do they have.  Then reach out to them individually so that you build a rapport with them and have 'hired another salesperson' without having really hired them (or paid them!)

Developing these relationships and engaging them, especially in public, is a tremendous asset to have and utilization of the hashtag is probably the best way to do it.

I've written several Twitter guides, including two on the effective use of hashtags that offer a nice complement to the advice provided here. Folks who are interested in learning more may want to check them out:

For the full set of resources, see Twitter Guidance for Rookies (and Others).

Courtney 

Amazing post Lorien,

First we have to teach businesses how to use hashtags. I preffer #hashtag, /lists and $keyword filter to inform myself for an opportunity or a topic. It's a good combination.

 

//Bogo