I've been thinking about how small business owners can use a hashtag to generate leads for their business. We all read how important it is to use #hashtags in our social media posts. But I'm guilty of being slack in using a #hashtag when I could, and I'm guilty of never having taken the time to search by #hashtag on Twitter or Facebook.
So I asked over on my Facebook page, “how many of you actually search for a topic or person by #hashtag?” I got a lot of responses. Here's the breakdown of what people said.
More business owners use #hashtags than not, but the margin isn't wide. 19 said, “Yes, I use them” and 16 said no. By a wide margin, people use #hashtags on Twitter more than any other social media site. Instagram came in second. Only two people said they used hashtags on Facebook.
Why not use hashtags?
- They were too “old school” and weren't use to it
- Others felt it would not bring them business or lead generation.
- One person thought hashtags were annoying and still another person called them “tiresome.”
The reasons to use a #hashtag?
- Most use them to search for people who they want to connect with or who might be prospects.
- Fewer used them for searching topics, although those that do this find it very helpful.
- One person reported that using them in the online communities she was in was a great way to get conversations started among people of similar interests.
Nina Modaresi suggested that it's beneficial to run a question/answer session with your clients or prospective audience during a product launch or an event and link that QA session to a specific #hashtag. My friend Debbie Saviano believes that using a #hashtag is like giving a post a mini headline, which I think is a cool idea!
Connie Ragen Green says that she uses hashtags regularly in her groups. I'm going to ask her for an example of that and see if she'll reply on this post, as I'm not sure if she means groups that she runs or those she participates in (or both!).
Everyone seems to agree that using hashtags on Instagram is necessary more than on any other site, by the way.
Tip: If you're in to using them, you can use something like RiteTag to find out how useful your hashtags are.
I'd love to hear your stories about how you have used hashtags to benefit your business, so please chime in below. Are you a #hashtag user, yes or no? And why or why not?