The importance of research, planning, and a little ingenuity when you’re creating a hashtag for your business to stand out on social media

You’ve probably dipped your toes into the hashtag waters of social media a few times—a #TBT here, an #instamood there. But if you’re going to compete with millions of companies leveraging hashtags to their benefit, there needs to be a little more strategy behind your game. Instead of only using popular hashtags that everyone uses, why not think about creating a hashtag for your business?

What makes creating a hashtag for your business so useful?

Companies incorporate branded or unique hashtags into their social media marketing efforts for all types of reasons, including to:

  • Increase social engagement
  • Expand their reach and boost brand awareness
  • Provide a different way for consumers to learn more about a product or serviceSocial Media Icons- Creating a Hashtag for Your Business in 5 Steps
  • Improve SEO on social platforms
  • Engage in a conversation about a specific topic

You can also use business hashtags in other ways, like for:

  • Events 
  • Contests or promotions
  • Product launches
  • Targeting a specific demographic
  • Showing your company’s culture
  • Sharing job opportunities

Build a custom social wall for your company by defining hashtags, keywords, phrases or @users. Then use our customization options to design your social wall. Each design template is built to be beautiful. You can’t go wrong. Start building your social wall today.

Follow these 5 steps when you’re creating a hashtag for your business

The idea of creating a hashtag for your business seems easy enough—you think of some catchy phrase that connects to your brand, put a # in front of it, and push the “post” button on your social profiles. Consumers will love it right away, you’ll get a ton of new followers, and everything will be great.

Except that’s not how it works.

When it’s your company’s marketing dollars and reputation on the line, you can’t just wing it. There needs to be some kind of strategy behind your hashtag creation.

1. Before you begin, start at the end.

What’s your ultimate goal for this hashtag? Increase mentions? Traffic? Engagement? Tie your goals to numbers, if possible. Too many social media managers create hashtags, but don’t associate them with any kind of metrics—so how will they know if their hashtag was a success?

Social Media Icon- Creating a Hashtag for Your Business in 5 Steps2. Figure out which social media sites you’re going to use.

When people think of hashtags, their minds usually go to Twitter, and in recent years, Instagram. Most social sites, however, have begun to incorporate hashtags to some degree: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Google+. You certainly don’t have to be active on all of these sites, mainly because some probably don’t match up with your brand very well. But of the sites on which you do have profiles, narrow it down even more, to decide where your hashtag might be the most successful.

The rules of hashtagging vary across these platforms, so after you decide one or more social sites you’re going to leverage, determine how you may need to tweak your messaging or hashtag strategy. For example, Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags, but research has shown the optimum amount for a brand to use is 11. On Twitter, however, where “concise” is the name of the game, engagement drops sharply if you use more than two hashtags.

3. Put on your creative thinking cap.

When you’re creating a hashtag for your business, there are a few things to keep in mind. Your hashtag should be short, easy to remember, consistent with and exclusive to your brand, and focused on one message. You may be tempted to create a hashtag that’s super clever or catchy, but it’s not uncommon for that to backfire. Walk the middle of the road with hashtags—you can be witty or fun, but don’t go overboard.

4. Research your hashtag before using it.

You and your team think you’ve come up with the best hashtag ever and you’re so excited—don’t jump the gun, though. Take the time to search your hashtag on different sites to make sure it’s not already being used by another brand (Check My Hashtag is great for this) and that it doesn’t have some double or hidden meaning that you weren’t previously aware of. You may think you have a harmless hashtag, but the folks of the internet have a special way of calling out unfortunate capitalization choices or word combinations.

5. What’s your CTA?

Every good hashtag should be paired up with an equally solid call-to-action. Keeping your ultimate goal in mind (remember that from step 1?), think of what type of action you’re hoping the reader will take. You may want to ask a question, say something that creates a sense of urgency, or requires engagement.

CTA- Creating a Hashtag for Your Business in 5 Steps…but don’t make this mistake when it’s time to share your hashtag

After you’ve gone through the 5 steps above, you’ll likely be psyched to schedule your posts. Hint: don’t post the hashtag too frequently. Plan out exactly when it will be used to avoid oversaturation.

There is, however, one embarrassing mistake you could still make with your business hashtag, especially if you schedule your posts ahead of time. You need to know what is going on in the news, what topics or hashtags are trending, and how your hashtag may be perceived in that climate. And that’s not something you can possibly know until right before you post.

For example, when the Casey Anthony jury was working toward a verdict, there was a #notguilty hashtag trending. At the same time, Entenmann’s tweeted a #notguilty hashtag to promote their low-calorie treat options. The result was an embarrassing oversight that made the company look insensitive and like they were trying to profit from a trending hashtag that was entirely inappropriate for their brand.

Sometimes, social media can feel like a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of job. The real winning businesses, however, prioritize strategy, research, and common sense. Take real quality time in creating a hashtag for your business, and you’ll eventually enjoy the rewards that come with a little bit of planning.

Display posts using your newly created hashtags, your announcements, and even polls around the office. Start building your social wall today.