Business Hashtags - Helpful or Harmful to Your Brand

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Social media is everywhere. Businesses and individuals alike use social media for work and play. With so many users, daily social network updates are frequently occurring; however, using business hashtags to raise brand awareness is not easy. It involves a lot more than just a hashtag (#) followed by a word or two.
To help optimize your use of hashtags, your brand needs to stay informed on trending hashtags. At the same time, it’s critical to be aware of upcoming influencer and consumer trends.

Do Hashtags Guarantee Results?

Hashtags can easily go awry and portray your business unfavorably. Hashtags can be an asset to your business when used correctly, or could be a downfall if used incorrectly.

Hashtags are exceedingly useful in creating a community and rapidly raising awareness for your brand. Don't eliminate the use of hashtags due to possible negative effects, instead treat hashtags with the respect and seriousness you do for your brand.

How Can Business Hashtags Pose Risks To Your Brand?

As social media continues to bloom into a massive social and business engine, exterior problems like "hashtag hijackers" and "spammers” have also grown. Unfortunately, one mistake could crash your entire brand and profile.

1. Hashtags — Are They Bad for Your Business?

In today's digital world, the use of social media to elevate your business is essential. However, just having a social presence isn't all that you need. Rather, you need your brand message circulated throughout all relevant forums.

When Twitter introduced the "hashtag," it became popular with how it united users via individual topics. Businesses hopped on to the hashtag train too, and eventually, other social channels like Facebook and Instagram also implemented the hashtag.

2. Hashtag Spammers — How To Avoid Them

The hashtag's purpose is to connect users who share and converse about a specific topic. However, being popular has its downside, as it allows spammers to interfere with, and manipulate, the sharing of trending business hashtags.

A study by Venngage suggests that spammers and bots are leveraging these popular social hashtags and that the effects of this are extremely damaging. These spammers cause businesses to make crucial decisions with incomplete or bad data.

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3. Marketing Campaign Gone Awry

Although there have been numerous PR Twitter campaign catastrophes, everyone seems to remember the #McDStories campaign by McDonald's. It was intended to encourage people to tweet about great McDonald's stories. Unfortunately, it resulted in the total opposite, as customers were tweeting about their negative experiences with the company. 

4. How to Avoid Hashtag Failure?

Be careful when using hashtags. Try not to create one that leaves room for criticism as they will most likely backfire. Smaller brands don't normally deal with this, but larger brands do, as more consumers are familiar with the brand and can cause the campaign to go viral.

Trial and error are how we learn to avoid a negative campaign and be honest with customers. You can create a hashtag using your business name to promote competition. This should encourage your followers to like and share your post, increasing your brand awareness and displaying it in a more positive light.

Take Sharpie, for instance. Their business hashtag was successful when they encouraged their users to share images by using #Sharpie.

5. Don't Use Hashtags Incorrectly

Although Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all use hashtags, they all use them in different ways:

●  Twitter — Hashtags are mostly used to start conversations on a certain topic.

●  Instagram — Describes your posted photos.

●  Facebook — Used for personal networking, as opposed to any specific image or topic.

Figure out if you need to use hashtags on each of your social media platforms, since Facebook uses its hashtags in a different way than Twitter and Instagram. It probably wouldn't be beneficial to use business hashtags on Facebook due to it being more of a family and friends networking channel.

Speaking in terms of engagement, Facebook hashtags can inhibit your brand's chances of reaching or connecting with your customers. Therefore, it’s best to stick with Twitter and Instagram.

Are you unknowingly “hashtag happy” on your other social media channels? This is yet another mistake business owners make. It's great to promote your business using hashtags as long as they're used correctly. Oftentimes, business owners can go “hashtag happy” by #hashtagging #every #word #not realizing that it's overkill and annoying to your followers.

6. You're The Driver — Remember That

When you use hashtags properly and for the right reasons, your brand should be positively impacted. You want genuine followers who are interested in your brand and your mission. Always strive to create engaging content that your followers can relate to, and want to see more of. Remember, you're the driver of your brand, and only you can produce the content that keeps your followers coming back for more.

About Fundid

Fundid is on a mission to get women-owned businesses the capital they need to grow so that we can all close the business wealth gap. While 42% of businesses in the US are owned by women, they only account for 4% of revenue generated by private businesses.  We spend our time at Fundid thinking about what the world would look like if women also generated 42% of revenue and how to get them the capital they need to make that happen. Fundid is creating new ways to get small businesses the capital they need to grow and is built from the feedback of women entrepreneurs.