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4 Ways Marketers Should Use Hashtags
By: E. V. Perkins Jr.
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In his post What the Hashtag, Brett Moneta gave a great definition of what a hashtag is. “The “#” symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet… (They) are used to group, spread, and track topics.” Hashtags have extended into Instagram, so now you can use them on tweets and photos. Here are four ways marketers should use hashtags to their advantage.

Search
When you click on a keyword with a hashtag, it opens a stream of all posts containing that keyword. Try this one: #marketing. If you’re doing research and want to see what people are saying on Twitter about a topic, type in a keyword with a hashtag. What you’ll find might surprise you. It works on Instagram too.

Spreading Messages
When I post about a topic, I search potential hashtags to see which ones are popular and then use them in my tweets. For example, you’ve seen how many people are talking about marketing and decide you want to join the discussion. Use “#marketing” in one of your posts: “Five creative #marketing tips for small businesses.” Congratulations! You’ve joined the conversation. Other users search hashtags, so chances are good that they’ll find your message as well.

Reaching Influencers
Journalists, bloggers, and thought leaders who are relevant to your target audience may also be on Twitter. In addition to their large number of followers, they may be following several people themselves. Some follow hashtags about a certain topic. To reach these influencers and their massive following, pay attention to the hashtags they use in their tweets. If you use a hashtag that they follow, they may see your tweet and share it with their followers. This is particularly useful if you have a small number of followers.

Events
If you’re having an event, conference, or other gathering of people, create your own special hashtag and ask attendees to use it in their updates. As the host, it allows you to track all the posts about your event. You should definitely use it on Instagram, because then you’re showing and telling your audience what’s happening at your event. GQ Magazine recently hosted their Men of the Year event and used #GQMOTY. The best part about using an event hashtag on Instagram is that they now have a library of user-generated photos to share or archive.


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About the Author
E. V. Perkins Jr. is a marketing and new media specialist in the Milwaukee-area. Learn more about him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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