Why is everybody using the “#” so much on social media nowadays?
What is it for?
Will it help more people notice my business?
What about these challenges that I see going around, can I create my own? Should I participate?
Is it important for my business to follow everything that’s popular on the platform right now?
All of these are important questions and all of them will help you maintain a vibrant and relevant social media presence for your company.
Let’s start with that “#”!
Behold, the mighty #!
This will be one of your most powerful tools to keep your business relevant and thriving on whatever social media platform it engages in.
It does not mean pound or number as it used to.
With the advent of social media, this symbol is now referred to as a hashtag.
Hashtags perform the function of categorizing social media posts so that a user can simply search for whatever hashtag and see all the posts that contain it.
On most social media platforms having a certain hashtag within a post will make it more likely to be visible to other users using that hashtag.
Common uses for this are to mark a certain event, issue or desired action.
Some examples would include #StanleyCupPlayoffs, #ClimateChange or #SubscribeToPewDiePie.
The more posts that contain these hashtags the more people will see that hashtag and potentially grow your audience!
An example of how this could be used effectively by a business would be to have the company name be a hashtag at the end of every post.
Or use the company slogan.
Or use your industry.
Take for example a chiropractor.
At the end of their social media posts, by simply adding #chiropractor they would be connecting to other chiropractors!
They would also connect with anyone potentially searching for a chiropractor, not only growing their audience but connecting to customers.
To add on to this, hashtags can reference content within the post.
For example, our hypothetical chiropractor could be talking about symptoms, such as back pain and put #backpain to the same effect.
So then wouldn’t it be to your benefit to include as many hashtags as possible to connect to the widest possible audience?
Yes and no, this effect works well as long as the hashtags relate to your business … but leaving that sphere they become much less effective (with some exceptions).
Social Media Trends and Challenges
Change of Pace
Have you ever been on your social media and noticed “#YOLO”, “#MotivationalMonday”, “#IceBucketChallenge” or the like?
These are some exceptions to the relevancy rule.
Hashtags like motivational Monday are more intended to be a change of pace to the usual business-relevant posts.
This particular case provided the audience with energy to begin the week.
Hashtags like this become popular because many people need that extra boost to start their week.
It becomes a trend on the platform for many people to post motivational content at the beginning of the week with this hashtag.
As with trends in other parts of society, social media trends will come and go.
Because of that, it is important for your business to know and understand current trends.
This will help you to keep posting content that will be popular and reach more people.
Challenge hashtags are a call to action or for a specific type of content.
Look at the ice bucket challenge from a few years ago.
To raise money for ALS it called on participants to upload content dumping a bucket of ice and water on their heads.
As more people participated this raised awareness for the disease.
When more high-profile content creators, businesses or celebrities uploaded this content they would raise money before participating.
Challenges like this are a good way for your business to both show that it is up to date on what is popular and have a social conscience.
In theory, it is possible for your business to be the Genesis point of one of these challenges by uploading content with a challenge hashtag and challenging your audience to participate.
However, this is difficult depending on the content, size of your audience, and their engagement with your social media.
Be on the lookout for challenges where your products may be being used in an unsafe or harmful manner (Such as the challenge from a couple of years ago where users were challenged to consume laundry packets).
This caused severe damage to the reputation of the company involved.
Even after they distanced themselves from this obviously dangerous practice!
You don’t want your company’s name involved in a challenge hashtag for the wrong reasons.
Want to learn more about how to stay relevant on social media? Check out part 1 of this series!