#Hashtags for Your Small Business

Hashtags aren't just for snarky teens. If you're not using hashtags to promote your business, you could really be missing out. Setting up a cheap hosting account and taking the time to go through a cheap hosting comparison chart is a step in the right direction.

#Hashtags for Your Small BusinessBut, none of those efforts will matter if you aren't part of the social media loop. How the heck to you use hashtags, and aren't tags totally unnecessary? As a journalist that spends some time writing online articles, I'm often asked to send those articles out already tagged. Here are some of my top hashtag for #smallbiz tips.

1. Use your brand name. Major companies like #Nike use hashtags in order to make it simpler for Twitter users to find all posts related to Nike. Even if your company isn't as large as Nike is, you can still tag your company accordingly. This way, anyone looking for #joespizza or #mikesmacaroni can find related tweets easily.

2. Use wit. This one's tricky. Some witty hashtags are used too frequently (#justsayin comes to mind). But, you can use a tag that's clever to get your point across #wisewords. Don't think too much about these tags, just let it flow. If you can't come up with something witty, skip this one.

3. Market using hashtags. You can create a marketing campaign using hashtags. For example: if you company has just come out with a great new app, you can use the tag #trackthatapp or #beatthisapp or something like that. Then, you can let your fan base know about the new tag, and tell anyone that has a Twitter account to tag your company using the same tag. I do have a warning for you though.

WARNING: #Hashtags for Your Small Business

Marketing tags can backfire! A good example: Starbucks created a hashtag campaign a year or so ago that included the tag: #spreadthecheer. Some Twitter users took advantage of this tag by writing critical tweets about the company using the same tag. What's worse? The Starbucks tweets were being displayed on a massive screen in the UK over a public ice skating arena — some of the tagged tweets included profanities, so you can imagine the PR mess!

4. Check out #FF. Follow Friday (#FF) is a kind of group tweeting effort that happens on Fridays. If you tag a bunch of people you are following with the #FF hashtag, you can get in on the action. This does take up a lot of time, though, so be prepared.

5. Learn from other tags. Need ideas? Want to connect with people you know? Why not search for tags that other companies might use? Try something like #cheaphosting or #cheaphostingcomparison to find a cheap hosting website or to weight one company against another in a cheap hosting comparison. You might also try #smallbiztips, #marektingfordummies, #seohelp, and nearly anything else that you have in mind. The sky's the limit!

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