cup of tea near a notebook

Hashtag…the symbol formerly known as the pound sign, has become a staple of the most effective social campaigns and are now found just about everywhere! Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake even did an entire skit around hashtags. I want to briefly explore these ubiquitous symbols and their importance for small businesses that utilize social media to reach their audience.

Many small business owner are experts in their respective field, however, they may not have a good understanding of some of the simple things they can do to improve their reach. Those small business owners are incredible at what they do and they love to share their knowledge. However, what I have found is that even though they are experts at what they do they may not understand how to best market their company or product. In working with these owners, many feel doing effective marketing is going to be very expensive. But what they may not know is that there is a whole toolbox full of simple (and practically free) marketing tactics that they can use and most likely manage themselves.

Why they are so important?

Anyone who uses social media has noticed all of those little #hashtags and some may find them quite annoying. While they appear to just clutter the page and get in the way of those beautiful images or videos that we love so much, in reality for a business owner who engages in social media, they are absolutely invaluable. It doesn’t cost anything to add those hashtags to a post but the return could be amazing.

The most simple definition is that hashtags are labels for posts and content. These little symbols and their associated word or phrase makes it easier to find posts or information with a specific topic. Most social media sites will actually allow you to follow certain hashtags that are of interest to you and they will let you search for hashtags. So, if you don’t have your post tagged with appropriate hashtags, people that are interested may not find you or your business.

Hashtags are a free, extra little step you can use to enhance your social media presence and help a larger market discover your product or service.

How to use them effectively to promote your business?

You don’t just want to randomly put hashtags on your post, you want to make sure you are intentional in the phrases or words that you’re using. Keep them specific to your industry, the type of business that you have, the product and or service you’re offering and if you service a specific area you want to use hashtags appropriate for that area.

Let’s say, for instance, ABC Auto Parts store located in Duluth, Georgia posted to Instagram about a battery special they are running. The store would want to use tags related to that specific battery special, as well as, the location and the auto parts industry in general.

They might consider something like these:

#abcautoparts #carbattery #interstatebatteries #deadbattery #carparts #autoparts #cars #car #automotive #auto #carsofinstagram #parts #carpartsforsale #spareparts #carlifestyle #autoaccessories #caraccessories #engine #mechanic #carcare #usedautoparts #autorepair #autopartsstore #duluthga

If you are unsure where to start or what the most popular hashtags are for your business, there are a plethora of free websites that can help generate hashtag lists. If you want to get even more strategic check out this article from, Digital Agency Network, on some of the paid hashtag services. Also, each of the big social media companies regularly publish lists

One last thought on hashtags, there is no right or wrong, only effective and ineffective. By using any hashtag you will reach more people, but by using the strategic and thoughtful hashtags you will reach a broader audience of your ideal customer! Have fun and experiment, you never know what the perfect formula is for your business until you try.

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