Have you ever wondered how a small symbol such as this (#) could become so important for content marketers and entrepreneurs alike?

Today, there are hardly any posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms that do not carry the hashtag symbol. And, just like a lot of online marketers and entrepreneurs, you may be asking, what is the significance of these hashtags? Do they really play an important role? Are they still a force to be reckoned with?

Well, in this post, we'll address these questions and many more.

Most people use hashtags without even knowing its relevance or how to use them. Hashtags can indeed increase the visibility of your post; it can also help to better organize and attract a lot of attention to your content; however, if you do not use them properly, you may not derive any benefit from them.

What essentially are hashtags and why are they so important?

A hashtag is like a phrase or a keyword that is preceded by the # symbol. Essentially, a hashtag is created by placing the # symbol in front of a word or group of words without any space in between. 

In today's online marketing industry, the use of hashtags has become critical to the success of any social media marketing campaign. Hashtags help your posts get better engagement and greater exposure to audiences you never thought you could reach.

Furthermore, hashtags make it very easy for a lot of social media users to find and connect with your posts. Hashtags kind of create a trail that leads other users to discover and engage with your post.

If you're still not convinced about the importance of hashtags in today's social media marketing industry, here are some statistics that could convince you.

  • Brands who use at least one hashtag in their posts on Instagram get 12.6% better engagement than those who do not use any hashtag.
  • Using hashtags on tweets exposes the tweet to twice more clicks, retweets, replies, and favorites.
  • A research conducted by Buddy Media revealed that having just one hashtag can increase engagement with your post by 100%.

Hashtags are still very relevant if you want to make your social media posts more organized, more targeted, and discoverable.

Here are some benefits that show that hashtags are still powerful, and by using them appropriately, you can maximize optimum results for your social media marketing campaigns.

1. Increase brand awareness and brand online visibility

If you want to increase online awareness for your brand and boost your brand's visibility, then you need to make hashtags your best friend. Top performing brands are known by their unique hashtags, which have created greater awareness and visibility for them. 

For example, when users see #givesyouwings, they know that it is Red Bull. Also, when they see #ShareACoke, they quickly know that it is from Coca-Cola. Hashtags are a remarkable way to differentiate your posts or content out of the millions of content online today.

2. Build relationships

With the help of hashtags, you can get an idea about the interests and needs of your target customers, as well as the topics that excite them. All you have to do in order to get this idea is to click on a hashtag that is related to your business.
When you get insight into the needs of your potential customers, you can then begin to build a relationship with them based on their needs. Who knows, they might just turn out to become paying customers.

3. Increase customer loyalty for your brand

The true potential of hashtag lies in its ability to link your brand's content with other highly visible content, and while doing this, your brand gets exposed to new audiences. If the content and ideology of your brand resonate with them, they will not only become paying customers; they will also become loyal to your brand because your brand shares the same goals, views, and principles with them. 

4. Increases the discoverability of your brand

Technically, hashtags can be said to be the SEO element of digital marketing on social media. SEO works to rank your website on Google by allowing prospects to find your business easily. Same way, hashtags allow your prospects to discover your content and brand easily on social media. 
When users search through hashtags related to your brand's online content, they can discover your content and engage with it. To maximize results from your social media marketing efforts, you have to leverage the power of hashtags as an all-important SEO tool.

5. Target Locations

Another powerful benefit of hashtags for your brand is that you can target and address more localized followers. For example, maybe you're carrying out an event in New York, and you want to address or target your followers or residents based in New York, you can use #NYC to target them. 

Even better, you can get your content translated into the local language of your followers with the help of online translation and localization services like The Word Point and other brands. 

Using hashtags in the local languages of your audience can be invaluable, and they can help generate more awareness and boost the coverage of your posts.

What type of hashtag should you use?

Essentially, the type of hashtags you use will depend on the objective or goal you intend to achieve from your post. If you misuse hashtags, you might not get the desired results from your social media marketing campaign. There are three (3) types of hashtags you need to familiarize yourself with, they are;

  • General Hashtags: As you'd expect, general hashtags are hashtags that can accompany any post. They are used by both business and regular users to promote their posts. It doesn't really have any meaningful marketing motive. One of the most popular general hashtags on Instagram is #Love.   
  • Branded Hashtags: These are hashtags that include your brand name, slogan, or the name of your product or service. They are used to distinguish your brand from others and generate some buzz around your business. Your followers can also use your branded hashtag in their posts to create awareness for your brand and interact with your business - for example, #Nike or #JustDoIt which is known on Instagram as Nike's branded hashtag. Endeavor to use branded hashtags that are short, easy to write, and easy to remember.
  • Industry Hashtags: Just as the name implies, they are hashtags relevant to the specific industry or niche of your business. For instance, if your business is in the fashion or makeup industry, you can use hashtags such as #RedLipStick, #Makeup, #FakeEyeLashes, etc.

Tips to make your hashtags more powerful and effective.

  • Research and use the right keywords.
  • Don't overuse hashtags. One or two hashtags per post are enough for Facebook. For Instagram, you can use nine hashtags at best.
  • Search for hot and trending hashtags and find a unique way to connect your content with them.
  • Use hashtags in other languages to target audiences who are not native English speakers.
  • Research and analyze the success rate of the hashtags your competitors are using, then come up with a unique one for your brand.
  • Use a branded hashtag in your bio.
  • Use hashtags to target particular locations in order to attract local audiences. You can use hashtags for a particular city or town you want to target.
  • Use hashtags to go live at an event you are attending. Maybe you're attending the Oscars, a wedding, or a small meet and greet coffee party. Most events have hashtags that go along with them. 

Final thoughts

You may think that hashtags are small digital characters that are no longer effective, yet, in today's social media marketing, hashtags are still very much powerful.

You need to test and retest hashtags so that you can identify the ones that generate more attention and engagement with your brand. You'll also need to test, research, and identify the best social media platform that would give you the best results.

When you use hashtags the right way, they can generate amazing results for your brand. If you are yet to incorporate hashtags into your social media marketing campaigns, the right time to start using them is now.