Here’s something to try on your social media channels this week.

It’s easy to do and well worth testing to see the results.

Because if done right you can…

• Find qualified new social media followers to turn into website visitors, subscribers and customers.

• Get your social media posts shared more widely.

• Tap into hot, topical subjects to make you more relevant and useful to followers.

It’s all about finding a hashtag that’s buzzing right now and using it in your Tweets, Instagram, Google+ and other social media activities.

As you know, a hashtag is the symbol # added to a word or phrase.

For instance, #GlutenFree #Beer #Summer #Fashion.

They tell the follower, at a glance, what the topic of the post is about.

If they click on that hashtag they’ll see all the other new posts related to that hashtag in a rolling, updated newsfeed.

Using them makes your business more searchable on social media.

This is particularly effective if you use highly topical hashtags specific to events, for instance:


Because while these are buzzing on social media networks, you can plug your business into this topic and get the attention of qualified followers.

By ‘qualified’, I mean that by using a hashtag you can be searchable by people into a very specific topic related to your business.

For instance, if you sell bicycles online, you know that #WorldCyclingDay will be searched for only by people who are interested in cycling, making them the exact people you are looking to attract.

I’m going to give you a full marketing process for using hashtags in the forthcoming issue of Digital Upstart, with some nifty tools.

If you’re not a member click here and get full access on a trial basis.

However, today I want to show you what’s possible by looking at one specific hashtag and how different businesses used it to generate sales, traffic and more followers.

From teeth whitening to Navy recruitment

It was World Chocolate Day on the 13th September.

The hashtag was popular, with businesses using it to get their tweets noticed – and not just the kinds of business you’d expect, as you’ll see.

However, let’s start with the obvious.

Bar and Cocoa is a craft chocolate club business. Naturally, #WorldChocolateDay is the perfect fit.

Here’s their tweet:

Note the way they ask a question to encourage interaction with followers. This a great way to use a hasthtag.

You can also encourage your followers to use the hashtag themselves, helping to raise its profile and get it trending on Instagram or Twitter.

A similar approach was used by this kitchenware company…

Note that this Tweet is designed to get website traffic. It uses intrigue to lure people to a blog post. Only by clicking on the link will they find out the answer to the question.

Here’s one from a cookbook business called ‘The Happie Foodie’:

Here they’re using the hashtag to launch a stream of useful free content throughout the day.

A hashtag is something that can help you tell a story over a series of posts, giving you even more exposure to people searching that hashtag.

Here’s a wood-fired pizza business using the hashtag to promote their deserts.

They’re not directly selling anything in this tweet – it’s more about showing off the produce and inspiring sugary cravings!

In this case, the tempting image does the emotional selling, and for information, Twitter users can simply click on that Tweet and see the business’s website link.

Okay, so the obvious strategy for hashtags is to find a topic, theme or event directly related to what you sell.

But it doesn’t always have to be that way.

Moving away from the obvious…

It wasn’t just food-related businesses that tapped into #WordChocolateDay.

This toothbrush company played on the sugary content of chocolate to generate awareness of its products.

And here’s one you might not expect…

In a rather leftfield move, this semiconductor company (specializing in ‘low-power short-range wireless communication’) has linked to the chocolate hashtag.

Note how they use Twitter to direct traffic to their Facebook Page, encouraging sign-ups and engagement using a giveaway.

This could equally have encouraged sign-ups to an email newsletter.

Even weirder (possibly) is this tweet from of the South West’s Naval Recruiting Officer (ARO).

They’ve gone for a photo of chocolate galleons, cooked by their chefs.

This is another clever hashtag strategy…

Create your own stunt, event or marketing campaign around that hashtag and promote the heck out of it on the day.

How to find hashtags

The best way to know in advance what hashtags might be coming up is to make sure you’re following good-quality social media feeds from top experts, influencers and bloggers in your field.

Secondly, sign up for as many newsletters related to your field of business as possible.

The more connected you are with your subject matter, the more likely you are to get early notice of up-and-coming events.

As a shortcut tool, one good way to find out what hashtags are trending, is to use Hashtagify.

For instance, let’s say you’re an online florist.

You’d type in a basic keyword like ‘#flowers’ and get a selection of the top #hashtags linked to this topic, like this:

To find the more topical, trending hashtags, look at the column on the right which shows the top tweets.

In this example, you might see this…

So in this case, #LondoninBloom and #fivestarcommunity could be options for more specific trending hashtags.

Anyway, I have a lot of advice on hashtags and Twitter coming up in the next issue of Digital Upstart, so please look out for that. And if you’re not a member, now’s the time to join!

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