MYTH? HASHTAGS ARE JUST CLUTTER
You may have grown up referring to them as the pound sign, but in today’s digital age, hashtags have created an identity all their own. To the untrained eye, hashtags are a bunch of jargon, meant to attract new followers and clutter up our social media feeds, but that simply isn’t the case, especially for those dealing in digital marketing. All those hashtags actually have a variety of benefits and are much more practical than once thought.
To help set the record straight, I’m here to give you the lowdown on hashtags and the benefits they can hold for both you and your company.
What is a Hashtag, anyway?
You probably hear the words at least a few times a day, but do you really know what is meant by a hashtag? Hashtags really took off during the birth of Twitter, but they were used long before that. They began circulating in live chats and messages known as Internet Relay Chats or IRCs. Fast-forward to the dawn of social media and hashtags began to help clump together responses or posts tying into open discussions. Simply using a hashtagged phrase made you instantly part of the conversation.
At their essence, hashtags are a single word or groups of words or phrases that are used to identify posts about a specific topic. You may have also heard them referred to as metadata tags. But when it comes to marketing, hashtags are most known for how they can be used to engage and help brand your company with your audience.
Hashtags Help Target Specific Audiences
When crafting a social media post, you probably have a specific audience in mind, and once you send your work out for all the world to see, it can be hard to tell if your message is being sought out by the right people. One way to help increase your chances is to use relevant hashtags.
For example, if you’re trying to reach out to new restauranteurs or business owners, you might want to use the hashtag #restauraunternewbies.” By using this hashtag, people can search for that specific phrase and will receive a catered list of posts including these phrases, including your own posts.
Hashtags Help Keep Track Of Your Branding
Once you’ve gotten the hang of social media, you might want to expand your business’ brand persona and create your own personalized hashtags so that people can quickly reference your goods or products without having to tag your business in their comments. These brand hashtags can also help you monitor your reputation and what others are saying about your business. This can be used as a customer service tool to help sort through comments and posts that need immediate attention, as well as allowing you to determine what consumers like and dislike about your business and your services.
Use Hashtags To Promote Special Events
Another benefit to using hashtags is to help promote special events that your restaurant or catering service will be featured in. These events can include both parties and open events held at your own business, or special events or charity benefits that will occur offsite. Special hashtags for these sorts of events can be an easy way to help promote prior to the start date.
By including these hashtags in every post leading up the event, you can help spread the word and get more people excited for what’s to come. These hashtags are also a useful way for customers and patrons to post photos, feedback, and whatever else they choose during the event to help sway others to check things out.
If you're just getting started on social media and want to put your best foot forward, we have created a handy guide just for you called "The Social Media Handbook: A Beginner’s Guide For Food and Beverage Business Professionals". Click HERE to download.
And just like that, another social media myth has been debunked! Now that you know how to use hashtags to your benefit, you can help spread the word to all the nay-sayers that hashtags can be an incredible marketing tool if used effectively.
Did you enjoy this social media exposé? Be sure to check out the previous myths in this series and be on the lookout for our next installment where we’ll be tackling social media scheduling and answering the question once and for all, “do you really need to wake up at the crack of dawn to post during your audiences sweet spot?”