The Power of Hashtags and How To Use Them

Hashtags_md-300x178 The Power of Hashtags and How To Use Them  At this point, most people have heard of a hashtag. However, they may not know how to use them, nor understand the power of them.

The Power of Hashtags

A hashtag is referenced by a hash or pound sign (#) within a social media platform. The word or phrase that follows the symbol corresponds to a stream of conversation around that topic. For example, the hashtag #EstatePlanning offers searchers a way to find the stream of conversation easily and comment on it; share it; or read more about the topic.

What makes them so powerful?

When someone clicks on a hashtag, he/she can see your profile—you. They can also see other content you have shared. You’re now creating an engagement opportunity you may have never had before.

Example: Your firm specializes in construction accounting and tax management. Rather than just using hashtags about accounting content, also consider using hashtags often found in construction-related conversations, such as #construction, #homebuilding, #heavyequipment #excavators, etc. Remember the hashtag should coincide with the content you’re sharing. Avoid using them on social media posts that have nothing to do with the construction industry.

Not only is it a powerful way to inject yourself into a conversation, it’s also a great way to see who else is in the conversation. It may offer you some opportunities to Follow/Friend/Like/Share content of a potential prospect. If you find an alignment with someone on your social channels, begin building a relationship with that brand/person. Them move them through a more traditional sales funnel as you would a word-of-mouth lead.

Lastly, connecting to influencers by topic/hashtag may also elevate your influence on the topic. For example, when sharing content provided by the AICPA, you’re sharing information from a reputable resource. People trust the source, and thus assign the trust to you as well.

How To Use Hashtags

Major social platforms allow hashtags.

Leverage a hashtag in each social media post you create and share from others. For example, if your firm specializes in wealth management, you might share a story like the following from another source on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus, using the hashtag #WealthManagement:

7 Surprising Truths About Very Wealthy People
They say the first million is the hardest and that they could do it again if they lost it all. Read more about the very wealthy. What strikes you as the most interesting? [link:
http://www.inc.com/quora/7-surprising-truths-about-very-wealthy-people.html]
@Inc #WealthManagement

If your firm hosts its own blog, consider the same format with a link to the blog source—your website.

In most cases, hashtags may be used in the originating social media post, in a re-post or share, and also in comments.

When creating a new hashtag, be somewhat specific. For example, the hashtag #Accounting is very broad and may encompass many areas. However, the hashtag #ForensicAccounting is more specific and narrows the conversation to just that topic.

If your firm’s goal is branding, consider creating a unique hashtag based on its tagline. It would be most useful in platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Hashtags may also be used for lead generation. When combined with a keyword, hashtags aid is prospecting research. Before you begin searching, however, it’s important to know what you want to access.

In this example, the firm wants to expand its reach within the women-owned business sector of St. Louis. You would conduct a hashtag search to find the top terms related to the geography—St. Louis. In your search engine search box, enter “st. louis hashtags.” You will be rewarded with a search result listing “stlouis-top hashtags,” “10 Twitter hashtags popular for stlouis,” and more. Top hashtags include #stlouis and #stl. Write those down.

Next, in your search engine look for women-owned-business hashtags. For this case, be sure to use quotes around your search, e.g., “women-owned business hashtags”. In the results you will find #WomenOwned, #WOSB (woman-owned small business), and #WomenWOW (Women on Wednesday). #WomenWOW was designed to celebrate women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses. Leverage this hashtag on Wednesdays to promote your social media posts targeting women. Also leverage it to share content from that day with your followers and to get involved with the conversation.

Sample Posts

Twitter
Don’t wait. 5 Tips to Keep Your Small Business Accounting on Track. #StLouis #WomenWOW #STL

Facebook/Google Plus
5 Tips to Keep Your Small Business Accounting on Track
When it comes to owning a business, doing the accounting might be the last thing on your mind. Here are five tips you can implement today to keep your books on track.
#StLouis #WomenWOW #STL

LinkedIn
5 Tips to Keep Your Small Business Accounting on Track
When it comes to owning a business, doing the accounting might be the last thing on your mind. Here are five tips you can implement today to keep your books on track. What’s your biggest accounting challenge?
#StLouis #WomenWOW #STL

In Summary

In the end, your goal is to find or create the conversation, to engage with those in the conversation, and to generate a soft lead by directing them to your online resource, i.e., website. It’s also about branding and targeting your ideal clients through social media.

Hashtags can be confusing. When it comes to their use, what questions do you have?

Additional Resources

 

Disclaimer: This post originally appeared in the CPA Client Bulletin, © 2015, AICPA. Reprinted by permission.

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