Hashtags have long been used on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to help users key in on a certain topic or catch phrase in order to connect with like-minded users outside of their own news feeds. But did you know that local business owners can use hashtags to increase their exposure on Facebook and Google+?
While hashtags on Twitter have mostly been used for organizing around a specific event or happening, they work more like keywords on sites like Facebook and Google+. Hashtags turn topics and phrases in your posts into clickable links that connect people to topics they’re interested in. When someone clicks on a hashtag, they see a feed of other posts that include the same hashtag. It parallels the way keywords used to work in search engines.
Hashtag Ground Rules
Beginning with a pound sign (#), hashtags must be written as a single word with no spaces, punctuation, or special characters. They may, however, include numbers. To search for a hashtag in Facebook, simply type it into the search bar at the top of the page. The result is a news feed of posts featuring the same hashtag. You’ll only see posts, however, that are public or specifically shared with you, i.e. your friends.
While using too many hashtags can be unattractive and annoy readers, sprinkling in the occasional hashtag can help connect you with users who may be searching for your products and services. Use hashtags the way you might use keywords on your website to help readers find you.
Google+ Hashtags Work Even Better
Google+ hashtags are also an efficient way to bring more visibility and exposure to your brand and profile on Google+, but they work in a slightly different way. While hashtag searches on Facebook and other social networks only include results with the specific hashtag for which you were searching, Google+ auto-selects related hashtags and trending topics for you and provides you those results as well.
It’s these additional results that give Google+ hashtags the edge and your business a broader reach when you use the feature. Using hashtags on Google+ provides a business owner a good deal more interaction with users outside of his or her network who are interested in similar topics.
Google+ also has an automatic hashtag feature, which, when enabled, assigns hashtags to your updates automatically. This saves you a little bit of work and suggests related subjects that are trending (by clarence at dresshead). Another feature is the Explore section, which allows users to check out related hashtags, similar to a keyword search. In addition, the Google+ auto-suggest feature will bring up suggested hashtags as soon as you start typing anything after #.
In a nutshell, hashtags are the keywords of the social media genre, so don’t forget to use them in the same vein when you write your social media posts. They’ll help you to expand the reach of your business pages to a much wider audience of customers who may be searching for your products or services.