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UMKC Innovation Center
UMKC Innovation Center
3-marketing-hashtags
By Jenny Miller
November 08, 2013

Hashtags for Small Business

Hold up. Go back. If your small business is new to social media, you may be tripped up by the first word in my title. Just what in the world is a “hashtag”?

#Hashtags

When using social media, the people in your sphere may see what you have to say because they are your “friends” or they “follow” you. Your posts show up on their feeds—when they’re looking.

But how do you get their attention if they’re not online when you post? And how do you expand your reach beyond the 300 or so followers or friends you have.

That’s where hashtags come in.

Hashtags allow a social media user to reach a wider audience or search social media for a specific topic. According to Vicki S. Cannon, owner of Cannon Social Media Solutions, a hashtag is an identifier – think of it as a way to filter out the noise or segment the content of social media to focus on the subject being searched.

Want to know how people reacted to the last episode of Shark Tank? Search Twitter, Facebook or even Instagram for #SharkTank. Want to know what’s happening during Global Entrepreneurship Week—or want to participate in the conversation? Follow or use #GEWKC.

Quite simply, hashtags allow social media users to reach and communicate with anyone in the world about a particular topic. Hashtags categorize the subject of your tweets, posts or updates and increase the number of people that see and read your communication.

The Rules of HashTag

Be stingy. So how many hashtags can you get away with? As a general rule, limit yourself to, at the very most, three hashtags per post. Even though a hashtag is used to communicate with people outside of your sphere, use them sparingly, strategically and not necessarily in every post.

Be relevant. Make your hashtag(s) relevant to what you are saying. When people connect with you, they’re looking for value and content, not just to be bait for your website. Too many hashtags and irrelevant tagging smacks of spam—and can even get you removed from the social media platform.

Be aware. Search hashtags on the social media platform you’re using before you use them. Make sure your hashtag is appropriate, communicates what you intend and doesn’t travel in less savory circles.

Be strategic. Search hashtags to make sure they’re used—and reaching—the people you want to reach.  For example, does #SmallBiz reach entrepreneurs looking to launch a new technology, an independent restaurant owner looking to increase her customer base or an organization interested in researching trends in small business?

Upcoming Opportunities to Play a Little Hashtag

Global Entrepreneurship Week is a perfect time to put your hashtagging skills to good use. Try out these hashtags as you network and learn more about entrepreneurship in Kansas City.

What are your go-to hashtags?

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