#Hashtags – The What, Why, When, Where and How

Have you seen the skit between Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake on #hashtags?  If not, you can catch it here. Hashtags have been around since the beginning of Twitter; you can find them used on Instagram, and they recently became popular on Facebook and other similar sites.

But what is a hashtag?

A hashtag – # – when used before a word, will become a clickable link that will retrieve all the other posts using the same keyword.  Look at the three images below.  Each ones is using a different hashtag that can be used for our local small businesses.

Instagram #SantaClaritaValley

Instagram #SCV

Instagram #SantaClarita

When searching SantaClaritaValley, SCV, and SantaClarita, a variety of photos come up.  Some are used by our local businesses to categorize their image – but others are just people around town using them to tag where they’re at.

Should you use hashtags?

On Instagram & Twitter – Yes.  On Facebook – Sometimes.  Facebook users don’t use the hashtags in nearly the same way as the users on Twitter & Instagram do.  We definitely recommend looking for local businesses through the hashtags you use and follow them to build your network, comment genuinely, and refer when possible.

Limit the number of hashtags you do use.  1-3 appropriate hashtags can help but using too many can appear spammy. They also might not be attracting the local followers you are looking for. Think about your specific business and whether attracting potential new customers outside of your geographical area would be a benefit to you. Realtors, for instance, might actually be able to network with potential clients outside of their local area. You never know when someone is going to pick up and move to a new city.

Keep in mind that although not everyone is going to turn into a paying customer,  the referrals that might come to you from a family member or friend could be golden. Word of mouth is the best marketing there is.

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