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As a small business owner, if you are going to go to the trouble of creating great content to be shared via your social media channels, you want to try and ensure that you can amplify that content as much as you can to the right people.

Well, a way that you can do this for free, is by simply using #hashtags in your posts.


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Podcast Transcript:

Jane Hillsdon:

As a small business owner, if you are going to go to the trouble of creating great content to be shared by your social media channels, you want to try and ensure that you can amplify that content as much as you can to the right people. Well, a way that you can do this for free is by simply using hashtags in your post. So what are hashtags? Essentially, they are keywords that are used to help people find topics of interest on social media. So they actually originated on Twitter to help people sort through the abundance of tweets that would cascade through one’s feed. In order for them to function as a search tool, you must use the hash key, no space, and then type your word. For example, hashtag no space marketing. Then if someone is on Twitter or Instagram or LinkedIn, et cetera, and wants to find some posts about marketing, they can search on hashtag marketing and in theory, your post would appear in that search result.

Of course, the more common the word, the more posts that would turn up in that search. So individuals and businesses also use specific hashtags to track a conversation on social. So this is actually really common with events. When we used to look after the Tastings on Hastings Food and Wine Festival here in Port Macquarie, we would use #tastingsonhastings and then the year. So say 2017, #tastingsonhastings2017 . We promoted the use of that hashtag on all of our marketing touchpoints. And we’d ask people to use it when they posted content about the festival on social media, that way during the lead up to the event, during the event, and then after the event, we could actually tap that hashtag into Instagram and see who was using it. And also what was being said about the festival.

This allowed us to comment and interact with their content, and of course, reshare it if appropriate. So this hashtag amplified our content by helping people find it. And hopefully, then we were able to interact with it and also allowing us to be able to kind of get that conversation going with other businesses and individuals by using that hashtag. Because social media algorithms are geared to respond, to engagement, the more comments and shares on anybody’s content, the more they’ll push that content out. So simply just by interacting with other people’s content, that’s about your festival or other people interacting with our content, the social media platforms respond to that and they just get it out to more people. It also allowed us to track engagement and buzz about the festival because we monitored all of the different posts using that hashtag. Now, if you’re on LinkedIn, you can elect to follow news sources based on hashtags.

So for example, I follow #smallbusiness. At any time I can go to my home page and on the bottom left, it shows up all of the hashtags that I follow. So if I click on any of those hashtags, LinkedIn will then show me the most current posts and articles that have been posted using that hashtag. So if you use specific hashtags on your posts, they can be found by more people, not necessarily in your network, who follow that hashtag or are searching for posts or articles that are using that hashtag. So how many hashtags do you use? Well on Instagram, hashtags are quite commonly used. So if you are in the first stages of building your community and really trying to increase the visibility of your posts, it’s recommended that you use quite a few hashtags.

I think you can still add up to about 30, but the recommendation on the street is to not use more than say about 11. On LinkedIn and Facebook, I recommend that you use up to three hashtags and make sure that the hashtag really relates to the content of your post or article. On Twitter recommend that you use about two hashtags to amplify your content on that platform. So of course you will see all sorts of posts that include all number of hashtags, but they are what the recommended amounts are. So that’s Instagram about 11 Facebook and LinkedIn, no more than 3 and Twitter, no more than 2. So I hope that’s helped you understand how hashtags can help you amplify your content for free on social media.

 

 

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