Hashtags are all over the place. First, Twitter started implementing this, then Google+ made its own social network that uses them. Not much later, Facebook joins the whole hashtag bonanza, and now we can’t scroll down without seeing a hashtag or two every couple of pixels on the screen.
By now, you’re probably irritated at the quantity of people using hashtags. You’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about. How would it sound if I told you that you can use hashtags to your advantage?
I’m dead serious. Hashtags are an incredible way to get many things done, possibly killing two birds with one stone! Just ask Barry Sloane, Newtek‘s CEO. He’ll give you four reasons why your use of hashtags might take you places:
- It’s the ultimate tool for contests! People share a hashtag to join a larger discussion and make themselves visible. This mechanism can be exploited in your advantage if you play your cards right. Let’s say you’ve got a cool techy-themed restaurant called “Where Nerds Dine.” You want to attract new patrons, so you come up with the neat idea of organizing an online “lucky draw.” Now, you have to find out how to engage your customers. How about making your own hashtag and asking prospects to share it for a chance to win a prize? Now, you can just ask them to share “#nerd4life.” The job’s done! Just look up your hashtag if you ever want to view a list of participants to your lucky draw.
- Conversation means conversion! People talk a lot on social networks. Create a hashtag and encourage people to use it. This is like the contest idea, minus the contest, but it’s still effective. As long as you can engage people, you can get them to share whatever you have to offer with its own little hashtag.
- Hashtags paint little bull’s eyes on people’s heads. If someone’s from Miami, he’ll look up “#miami.” Let’s say your “Where Nerds Dine” restaurant is in Seattle. You can use “#seattle” in your posts to attract patrons from your city (and tourists). Need I say more?
And I leave the best for last: Hash-tagging will bring out the best in your innovative drive! There are so many things you can do with hashtags, you have yet to discover even half of their uses. Sloane mentioned how American Express plans to allow customers to make purchases using hashtags. It’s a whole new world. Explore it!
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