Do you want to be seen as a subject matter expert?
If so, leveraging the power of hashtags is a quick and relatively easy way to build your brand around a particular topic. Hashtags are a word or short phrase, preceded by the number sign,#, that allows people to easily follow and join conversations around specific topics. For example, if you are a human resources expert, you may notice others in your field using the hashtags #hr or #hrchat at the end of their updates. If you click on the hashtags, you’ll immediately see posts from users who have recently used the same hashtags. Three of the largest social networks allow users to use hashtags: Twitter, Google+, and recently, Facebook. Typically, hashtags are included at the end of a post or social media update, but that is not always the case.
How to Get Started
Wondering where to begin? Get started in three easy steps.
- Watch your peers, competitors, and other industry leaders on social media. Whenever you see them use a hashtag, click on it to follow the conversations. Begin to interact with them, asking questions, thanking them for their posts, and adding your own comments of links to related items. Be sure to use the hashtag at the end of your updates.
- Start to use popular industry hashtags in your own updates. After completing step number one for a couple weeks, you’ll become familiar with the hashtags used in your industry or desired area of expertise. Use them in your updates. Remember, only use the hashtags that are relevant, if you’ve posted an update about human resources, but it has nothing to do with technology, don’t use #hrtech. It’s much more important to be seen as a reliable resource to those who are looking for your topic than for you to try to gain more exposure using inaccurate hashtags.
- Create your own hashtags. If you’re introducing a new topic or addressing a niche, mix in your own hashtags. For instance, if you’re building a brand about breaking news in human resources, you may create the hashtag #hrhaps. You may put #hr and #hrhaps at the end of your latest news posts to attract those looking for the latest human resources developments. After a while, you’ll start to see others using the hashtag you created. Create hashtags for your in-person and online events. Examples of online events include Twitter chats, webinars and Google Hangouts. Once you create a hashtag, share it with participants.
Crystal Washington is a social media marketing strategist, speaker, co-founder of Socialtunities—a social media instruction brand that trains Gen Ys-Boomers on the strategic use of social media, and the author of The Social Media WHY: A Busy Professional’s Practical Guide to Using Social Media Including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+ and Blogs for Business. She is hired by corporations and associations around the globe to provide keynotes, workshops, and webinars.