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Hashtags are everywhere these days. From billboards, to t-shirts; TV shows to Twitter, the humble hashtag is one of the most recognizable symbols in today’s digital world.

What are hashtags?

Hashtags are labels for content. Users label content by placing # in front of whatever keywords they’re using, to enable others to easily find and interact with content. Hashtags are clickable and direct users to a page that displays all of the messages and images that use the same hashtagIf used effectively, hashtags can help you expand your content reach, amplify your brand and improve your SEO.

With this in mind, we have outlined three hashtag strategies which can be used to complement your wider marketing plan.

1. Brand Hashtags

Brand hashtags are important, as they market a brand - your brand hashtag can be your company name or a tagline that summarises your business.

KitKat for example use their tagline #HaveABreak as their brand hashtag. They use it consistently across all their social sites and their consumers use it to engage with the KitKat community. This is great for KitKat, as they receive lots of authentic images of people enjoying their product.

Tips for using brand hashtags:

- Keep your brand hashtag short and simple, so it’s easy for your consumers to remember (and spell).

- Monitor your brand hashtags, so you can respond to people using them and build an online community.

2. Trending Hashtags

You’ve probably heard people talking about “what’s trending”. They are often referring to the hashtag topics that are most talked about on social sites.

When you see a trend that relates to your business, engage in it by using your tag. By using a trending tag in your content update, you can potentially get your message seen by a massive audience.

Oreo took this concept to the next level at this year’s SXSW conference, where they introduced their trending vending machine. The machine dispensed custom made Oreo cookies, based on hashtags that were trending on Twitter. Customers chose from a touch-screen display of trending hashtags and waited as their choice was transformed into a cookie.

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Oreo asked people to use the hashtag #EatTheTweet once they’d had their Oreo, which resulted in the campaign becoming a trending topic itself.

Tips for using trending hashtags:

- Be quick in using trending tags to get more exposure for your content and brand.

- Use niche trending hashtags to connect and develop relationships with your target market.

3. Content Hashtags

Content hashtags are not branded and aren’t necessarily trending or highly popular, but they can improve the SEO of your posts.

There are a few categories of content hashtags;

Product hashtags

People search for common product tags. When you post your products, think like your customer by using hashtags that connect your product and your market.  

Event Hashtags

If your business is taking part in an event, which could be anything from a live product launch, to a webinar you’re hosting online, tell your social connections about it and spread the word by including the event hashtag in your post.

Location hashtags

If you are a locally based business, you can connect with your local customers by using geo-targeted hashtags to get your business known in your city.

Tips for using common hashtags:

- Find common hashtags by checking out what tags are being used by your followers and your competition.

- Don’t ‘spam’ your posts with lots of hashtags - this makes you look ‘salesy’ and does not instil trust in your consumer.

Topics: SEO, Marketing Strategy, Hashtags, Brand Hashtags, Trending Hashtags

Myles Younger

Written by Myles Younger

Myles evangelizes Canned Banners unique approach to automating and streamlining display ad design. He is also responsible for the company’s client and partner strategy, and for understanding where Canned Banners’ tools and expertise can add the greatest value in the online display ad ecosystem. Prior to co-founding Canned Banners, Myles worked in B2B marketing and most recently held an international marketing role at Thomson Reuters.