Everything You Always Wanted to Know About #Hashtags (But Were Afraid to Ask)


Investing your time and money into a startup is always risky, but it helps to understand how the get the most out of your investment. One of the biggest aspects modern small businesses tend to overlook is exactly how big they have to look to expand their online presence. It’s not just enough to have a website anymore, especially when the latest numbers suggest that there are currently over over 600 million sites in existence.

It’s not just about websites anymore; it’s about social media and different types of marketing strategies to supplement your already spectacular web efforts. Of course, plenty of businesses have registered their Twitter handle and are currently building up interactive followings on Instagram and Vine. But they might not yet understand the true power of the hashtag — you know, that ubiquitous little # that keeps popping up wherever you look.

Recognizing #hashtags is great. But to use them effectively, you’re going to need a little help with social media. Here’s how to break down all the different types of marketing services online.

Listen to your customers
Chances are the modern consumer is on Twitter, especially since Twitter currently has nearly 645 million active users. The purpose of a #hashtag is to designate a particular term as something that can be tied into your brand and the way you want to present yourself to the digital world. The goal of all this sharing is to have the buzzword go viral — something that ultimately traces back to you. So, listen to your customers and try to figure out some of their concerns, then based your hashtags around those keywords.

Pay attention to the timeline
Hashtags are just one of many types of marketing services, yet they only comprise a subsection of what you can achieve on Twitter. A lot of sites use Twitter to push out content they’ve created for their main sites or to direct web traffic back home. But hashtags, as we mentioned before, create buzz. The first day you begin using one, you might only get one user tagging tweets — and that user might be you. Over time, however, you can see your hashtag begin to blow up. All it takes it the right promotion, so think outside of Twitter and use it on Facebook, Instagram and even in your marketing emails.

Lather, rinse, repeat
The best way to get noticed on the web is by finding something that works and doing it again and again and again and until you get the right amount of exposure. It’s been proven that hashtags work — just ask CBS, home of David Letterman’s Late Show, whose host is retiring sometime in 2015. The first source where that story broke? Twitter. News sites like NPR, Huffington Post and even NBC were linking back to Twitter to deliver the story.

Out of all the types of marketing services out there, remember the key role social media plays in maintaining your online persona. For starters, why not create your own hashtag? Something like #WebTips2014 might work.