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The Hashtag: Is it a Must-Have for Your Small Business?

If you're a small business owner, chances are you've heard of hashtags. They seem to be everywhere, from the photo captions in your Instagram feed to the keywords at the end of a blog post. But what exactly are they, and how can they help your business? In this blog post, we'll take a look at why hashtags are important on social media posts—and which platforms to use them on (and which ones NOT to use them on!).

What is a hashtag? A hashtag is simply a word or phrase preceded by a pound sign (technical term) (#). It's used as an identifying label for content related to that word or phrase. For example, if you own a restaurant and post about one of your specials, you might tag it with #weekendgetaway. This way, anyone who searches for "weekend getaway" will be able to find your post!

Why are hashtags important?

Hashtags are essential because they increase your visibility on social media. When a user searches for a specific hashtag, they can find your post and potentially follow your page, increasing your audience. Hashtags also allow you to target your audience and reach people who are interested in your niche. Using hashtags can boost engagement, which is essential for small businesses looking to grow their online presence. People often search for specific topics using hashtags in order to find relevant content. And if your post is tagged with the right hashtag(s), it will show up in those searches! It's important to note that while hashtags can be effective in helping people find your posts, they should always be used strategically—otherwise, they could have the opposite effect and actually turn people away from your page.

Which Platforms Should I Use Hashtags On?

Hashtags should definitely be used on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Google Business in order to optimise their visibility. However, it is important not to use them on Facebook because they do not serve any purpose there.

While Facebook technically supports hashtags, they really aren't necessary here since its algorithm prefers organic engagement over keyword searches, so save yourself some time by avoiding them altogether unless absolutely necessary! In fact, using too many hashtags on Facebook can have a negative impact on your post's visibility, making it less likely to appear on users' newsfeeds.

Best practices for using hashtags on social media platforms

  1. LinkedIn is a social media platform aimed at professionals. Therefore, using hashtags that reflect your industry and niche is essential. For example, if you're a marketing consultant, using hashtags such as #digitalmarketing or #marketingconsultant can help you reach your target audience.

LinkedIn recommends using 3-5 relevant hashtags per post. Don't go overboard, as too many hashtags can make your post look spammy and unprofessional.

2. Instagram is a visually-driven platform that relies heavily on hashtags. You can use up to 30 hashtags per post, but it's important to use them strategically. Use a mix of popular and niche-specific hashtags to reach your target audience.

On Instagram, you have much more freedom when it comes to using hashtags (it’s not uncommon to see some posts with up to twenty). But don’t let that freedom fool you into thinking quantity over quality is better here – if anything, Instagram users want even more specificity than what LinkedIn requires, so make sure you choose wisely! Additionally, avoid repeating the same hashtag over and over again within multiple posts, as this could lead Instagram's algorithm to think that your account is spammy, which in turn could hurt your reach in the long run.

One popular hashtag strategy on Instagram is to use hashtags that relate to the content of the post, such as #travel, #foodie, or #photography, as well as branded hashtags unique to your business.

3. Twitter is all about brevity, so it's essential to keep your hashtags short and sweet. Use relevant hashtags that reflect the content of your post, and limit them to 1-2 per tweet. Make sure to use popular and trending hashtags to increase your visibility and reach a broader audience.

Now Twitter only allows 280 characters per tweet, but unlike Instagram and LinkedIn, where we suggest erring on the side of caution with regard to hashtag usage, Twitter encourages users to get creative here! You can use up to two hashtags per tweet without sacrificing character count too much, but if you really want maximum impact, consider using up five or six - just make sure they are relevant! Also, try mixing things up by including fun trending topics like #ThrowbackThursday or #MondayMotivation into your tweets - doing this will help keep things interesting while also helping build engagement with potential customers.

4. Google Business - Last but not least, we have Google Business - here, there aren't any specific rules about hashtag usage, so just go ahead and use whatever makes sense for your business (within reason!). Adding hashtags to your Google Business profile can help customers find you when searching for a specific keyword. Just remember that Google indexes its results based on relevance, so be sure to choose keywords carefully in order to ensure maximum visibility!

Hashtags are a powerful tool that small business owners should be using to boost their online presence. Whether you're using LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or Google Business, using relevant and targeted hashtags can help you reach your target audience, increase engagement, and grow your following.

So, don't be afraid to experiment and find the hashtags that work best for your business!

P.S. Below is an example of the hashtags I would choose that relate to this post.

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