Hashtags are a common marketing tool that small business owners are starting to take notice of. You’ve probably noticed hashtags not only on social media but on signs, restaurant menus, and even promotional materials. That’s because hashtags have many uses, from organization to promotion. If you’re wondering if you should use hashtags for your business, the answer is yes! Creating your own hashtag is an effective way of growing your business through hashtag marketing. Here’s an explanation of how to create a hashtag for your business.
A hashtag is simply a phrase, without spaces, that has a pound sign (#) in front of it. Hashtags are used to “tag” photos and content with a theme or topic. On social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, for example, users can search a hashtag and instantly find content marked with that hashtag. Searching is just one of the many things hashtags are used for.
Think of your hashtag as a second slogan for your business. Your hashtag should define your business, describing what it is, what you do, or what your mission statement is. If you’re selling a product, your hashtag could be the feeling you want your product to invoke. Alternatively, it can be the lifestyle your business tries to promote. It could be a motivational idea or defining phrase like Nike’s iconic #JustDoIt. Sit down and think long and hard about what your business means to you, and the world.
Creating a hashtag is easy, but difficult at the same time. It takes creativity, after all, to come up with a memorable phrase that packs a punch within a few words. Hashtags that perform best tend to utilize humor or employ a play on words. Some make references to history or pop culture. Others straddle the border between appropriate and risqué.
The tone you take with your hashtag will depend on the nature of your business, and this applies whether you’re trying to create a hashtag for an event, a hashtag for a promotion, or your business’s general hashtag. As you start brainstorming, keep the following points in mind:
Hashtags aren’t copyrighted, but it’s clear when one business has claimed one. That’s why it’s important to conduct research before you create a hashtag for your business.
First of all, you should conduct research to find words, phrases, and ideas that are relevant to your business or industry. You should be tacking this onto posts in addition your main hashtag, and researching such words will help get you brainstorming. Not sure how to search? Here we explain how to find hashtags for your business.
Secondly, you should conduct research to make sure no one is using the hashtag you want. Sure, two companies can use the same hashtag, but it’s going to make your hashtag marketing confusing at best and useless at worst. You want a hashtag that’s not only catchy, but unique.
Sometimes, simple is best. This is especially true when it comes to how to create a hashtag. Your hashtag should be kept short—no more than a few words long (the max should be four, ideally three). Your hashtag should also be clear and easy to read. If you can, avoid placing two of the same letter together, as this tends to make the phrase difficult to discern. For guaranteed clarity, many companies capitalize their hashtags, as they tend to look better that way. So instead of, say, #stopworldthirst, you’d have #StopWorldThirst, which is much easier to look at.
Few brands are so widely recognized that merely associating with their brand name is deemed cool. Other businesses need to stand out with their hashtags. Try to make your hashtag funny, clever, powerful, or otherwise interesting. Users are more likely to use your hashtag if it adds flavor to their own post. You can try rhymes or puns if you aren’t sure how to begin.
If you aren’t sure what kind of catchphrase would best suit your company, you can go an alternative, easier route: using your brand’s name or your product’s name to create your hashtag. Don’t make your hashtag only your name though—that’s not only unoriginal, but ineffective. Very few people, if any, will be inputting your company’s name into their search bars. Try to build up on your company’s name with a clever word play or something that has a ring to it.
Before you start using a hashtag, proofread it. Better yet, ask someone who isn’t familiar with your business to read it for you. Ask people what they think the hashtag refers to. This is an important step because your hashtag should have an obvious relation to your business. Keep in mind that capital letters get dropped from hashtags so your tag should not read with any ambiguity.
It’s essential to proofread your hashtag is because words, when written together in a hashtag, can take on a different meaning than when read separately in a sentence. For example, the hashtag #nowthatchersdead that attempted to group information surrounding the death of Margaret Thatcher was construed by many as an announcement that the singer Cher had passed away.
Your hashtag must reflect your brand’s “voice” as much as your logo, tagline, and web copy do. A private law firm wouldn’t be able to get away with a hashtag that a more comedic brand would be able to, for example. If you aren’t sure, write down some potential hashtag ideas and get a few other pairs of eyes to look at it. You want something that makes sense to your brand—your hashtag should fit in snugly with your brand’s entire image the way a missing puzzle piece slides neatly into a puzzle.
Remember: don’t spam. Creating your own hashtag seems simple enough—simply create, and once done, attach to every post, right? Wrong! You should definitely make a committed effort to promoting your business’s hashtag, but you don’t want to spam. Try to space out your hashtags so that your posts don’t look too fake and spammy. This also leaves you more room to try out other relevant popular hashtags on your posts!
It’s tempting to simply start using your hashtag. If you want to make it look like a quality hashtag, however, you should start posting your own engaging content and attaching your hashtag to it. You can even go back to old photos and add your business hashtag so that these posts show up in your hashtag’s content feed. Be sure to select your most high quality content! You want to launch a hashtag with interesting, eye-catching material to back it up with.
Hashtags are an excellent tool for promotion across many social media channels, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. If you’re looking for even more ways to promote your business, don’t forget to check out our guide to advertising a business on Instagram, and our top tips for businesses using Instagram.