How To Effectively Use Hashtags To Find And Be Found By My Target Customers More Easily

By on March 16, 2011

We’ve spoken briefly on Twitter hashtagging best practices, in an attempt to try and curb the ever-growing misuse of the function.

What we haven’t done yet is explored how to use the hashtag (#) function more efficiently, so that your target customers can easily find your lists, streams and Tweets in general. There’s an art to hashtagging, and it’s your responsibility as a social media manager to get out there and make it work for your business. Here’s how.

1. Find Out Which Keywords / Tags Are The Most Popular

You know what your business is all about, and what your main keywords are going to be in each Tweet. What you need to do know is a bit of research. Spend some time wading through the hashtag destinations on Twitter, and see which groups offer the most value to the reader.

While the tag #socialmedia might be very popular, there may be a prominent business or a personality in the social media field that is getting a lot of attention in trending topics for example. In this instance, instead of using the generic tag, use a more inspired tag to get more exposure for your business.

2. Join Hashtags and Contribute To Build a Community Presence

Many people follow specific hashtags on sites like SocialOomph, where their favorite topics are discussed live on Twitter. These communities are ready made, and waiting for your business.

Establish a non-intrusive, yet solid and regular presence by using the specific hashtag in your social media strategy. Soon, the people that follow this hashtag will connect with your business – and your credibility will grow as a leader in that field. Be sure to select the best hashtags to follow and integrate into your campaign.

3. Create Some Original Hashtags And Make Them Popular

Create your own unique hashtags that are simple, and that other people might use. When you create your own hashtag it’s your responsibility as a social media strategist to promote it, so that it spreads and catches on around the net. The goal is to make the ultimate viral hashtag that you dominate.

To do this come up with a hashtag that is short and easy, and use it on other social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and your blog. In fact, use it everywhere you can. Contribute thoughtful, interesting Tweets and interact with others that use your hashtag for the best results.

4. Watch Your Hashtag Via Real Time Search on Twitter

Now that you have your own hashtag going, monitor who is using it and why, and make a point of always trying to encourage its use. If you do this enough, it could one day become a trending topic. Soon you could be adding yourhashtag to your business cards!

Let your hashtagging evolve, and don’t be afraid to move on to better tags or to shut down a particular tag campaign if it isn’t working. Remember the goal is to make your business easier to find for potential clients.

Do you have your own Twitter hashtag? List it below!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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