Are you ready for a quiz, small business owners? It’s only one question long.
Explain the difference between these two Tweets:
- What a great day!
- What a great day! #sarcasm
That’s an easy question, isn’t it? The difference is the hashtag. With one simple punctuation mark, the entire meaning of the sentence changed: in the first sentence, we have a day to be celebrated. In the second, the day is, at best, something to be endured.
Today’s customers uses hashtag as a part of their everyday vernacular. They’re prominent on social media and have entered everyday conversations. That’s not one bit surprising, according to language experts like Naomi Baron, author of Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World. “This is the kind of thing we do with language. We take things from one context and put it in another.” It wasn’t much of a leap for consumers to take the hashtag that was so handy on Twitter and start using it in other settings.
Other social media platforms were quick to pick up on this trend and incorporate it in their functioning. Today, you can use hashtags on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and more.
Hashtags serve a dual role on social media. They provide a way for people to express themselves, adding an additional level of clarity to text or image based communication. Additionally, people use hashtags to search for topics that are of interest to them.
To maximize the benefits you’re getting from your social media marketing, you need to familiarize yourself with how hashtags work. Visit the Twitter streams and Facebook pages of people who follow or like your company. Observe how they’re using hashtags, and what terms come up most frequently.
The next step is to integrate hashtags into your social media marketing. Think about how people would search for your company, and use those terms as hashtags when appropriate. Another option is to create a hashtag using your business name. If your business is participating in a larger event, such as a home show, find out the event’s hashtag, and use it on social media as you publicize your participation.
Successful Social Media Marketing Means Using the Language of Social Media
Social media is changing the way we communicate with each other. Some people find this hard to take, and resist adopting things like hashtags and cyber-speak. While that’s a valid position, as a business owner, it’s important to understand that it’s a position that puts distance between you and your customers. When your goal is creating tight, enduring bonds with your customers, it helps if your customers feel like you understand how they think and express themselves. Adopting some or all of the elements of social media’s unique language is one way to do that. Hashtags are a simple, strategically sound place to start. If you need help with this, or any element of your social media marketing, give us a call. We’re here to help!