Why You Need to Hashtag
A hashtag is a way of grouping a subject or a topic together, so it can be easily found in an online search. It’s a way of being part of a conversation, letting you connect with other social media users based on a common interest. Hashtagging can also be a way to make a statement without worrying about punctuation. It’s used on most popular social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest.
What’s the point of hashtags? Hashtagging can really set your social media posts apart, if it’s done creatively. At Mike Risko Music, there are many ways we use the hashtag to help boost our social media posts. You’ll want to explore hashtags and make them part of your social media, so you can reach a wide audience and make the right impression.
Be specific when you use hashtags. To start, create a hashtag that identifies your school and store, which you can use permanently. For example, we use #mikeriskomusic. It’s also a good idea to hashtag something that describes your business. Use what uniquely identifies you, such as #floridasbestmusicstore or #everythingthemusicianneeds.
Next, you want to identify key specifics in your post that you should hashtag, such as your town and any other local towns that you service. No matter where your town or school is located, you’ll want to identify with your community. Think geographically about the areas you cover.
You may want to hashtag a brand you’re selling. Chances are they already have a hashtag.
Use relevant, unbranded hashtags. You also want to hashtag whatever you’re highlighting in your post, such as #guitar, #violin or #musictheory. It’s important to create a catchphrase that identifies you or something you’re known for with your customers, such as #musiclessons, #musiclessonsinossining (we’re located in Ossining, New York) or #rockbandisforrockstars. You can look for a hashtag that already exists, or you can create your own. Look for hashtags that have a lot of posts associated with them. The catchphrase is less about being found in a search and more about making a point. You could write something along the lines of #imwiththebandanditsfun.
How to hashtag correctly. In order for your hashtag to work, it must be connected. You can separate the words with capital letters, but they still need to be connected (no spaces). It’s important to think about this when you hashtag. You also don’t want your hashtag to be so long that it’s tough for people to read, or too clever that people won’t understand it.
We like to engage our readers with social media stories that span several posts. One of our favorite social media stories was about a gig we planned to do in New York City with our band. We were minutes away from the gig, but traffic was a nightmare and we were stuck. We’d posted several previews about this gig, and we took a picture of the traffic and hashtagged it #holytraffic #nyc. It was fun to leave our readers wondering if we would make it to the gig—only to post 15 minutes later about how we made it, #readytorock. The post not only received a lot of likes but people also asked us about the gig when we saw them in person. It was a fun, interactive use of social media.
Hashtagging is definitely fun, and whether you are successfully hashtagging or just drawing attention to your social media posts, it gives your social a presence that people like to read and follow. #welovetohashtag.
Mike and Miriam Risko are the owners and directors of Mike Risko Music, a music lessons and retail operation in Ossining, New York.