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How To: Hashtags Part 2 – Using Them To Search And Engage

In part one of our ‘How To: Hashtags’ guide, Magic Mouse Media walked you through how you can use hashtags in a tweet. In the second part to that guide, we will be looking at how you can use a hashtag to search and engage as part of your marketing efforts.

In case you need a quick recap, hashtags are words, phrases or even sentences that are preceded by the # symbol. They are used on numerous social media platforms, but are mainly found being used on Twitter and Instagram. The idea behind them is very simple, in that it is a way to associate a tweet with a certain topic. For example, if you are creating a tweet saying how excited you are for a film festival, you can use the hashtag ‘#filmfestival’ to enable your tweet to come up whenever someone searches ‘#filmfestival’ using the search bar, even if the person doesn’t follow you. They are a great way to expand your reach and enable your posts, tweets, or photos to be seen by a wide range of people. Even better, they allow you to engage in conversations and starts conversations around a specific topic.

Let’s take a look at how you can you can use a hashtag to search and engage with potential customers…

Searching for hashtags

You can search for a particular hashtag using Twitter’s search bar, the same way you would search for different accounts to follow. Before you go searching any random hashtag, however, it may be wise to jot down a list of hashtags that relate to your industry and area. For example, if you are a business in the Newcastle area, and you are running a restaurant, searching for the hashtag ‘#newcastlerestaurants’ or ‘#newcastlefood’ might be ideal for you to find people who are looking for recommendations of Newcastle restaurants, or even bloggers who are reviewing a particular restaurant.

On the flip side, if you are a a business targeting students, searching for hashtags like ‘NCL’, ‘newcastleuni’ or ‘northumbriauni’ might be an ideal way to reach potential customers. Searching for hashtags allows you to engage with potential customers, and offer them solutions in the form of your business. Comment on posts by the users you find, follow them (most of the time people will feel obliged to follow a page back if a page has followed them!), and don’t be afraid to message them. Worst case scenario, they will just ignore you. Best case scenario, however, is that you start to build a relationship with the user, and this will allow you to gradually lead them down the sales funnel.

hashtag search

As you can see above, you use the search bar at the top of your feed to search for hashtags. Take your time going through tweets, and be sure to follow, like, retweet and comment on any tweets you feel are related to your business. If you are a photographer, why not retweet another photographer’s fantastic shot of a stunning castle? He may just notice you’ve retweeted it and give you a follow, opening the door to possible collaborations in the future! Or maybe you are looking for a freelance graphic designer to help with your company’s latest project. You may stumble across one of her latest pieces of work. Leave a comment praising them and invite them to get in touch with you!

hashtag search result example

Take a look at the tweet above for a minute, and think…if you were a restaurant looking to capitalise on Newcastle Restaurant Week, how would you reply to this tweet? Praising the other business mentioned would be wise, and you could maybe mention that you are taking part in the restaurant week too. You don’t want to push it, however, and just post one of your deals directly with no context. No one wants to feel like they are being forced to buy something. A reply like ‘Come check out our restaurant, we have great deals on food like 10% off burgers’ will likely be ignored, as it is coming across too ‘salesy’ . A reply along the lines of ‘We love Mr Petit, great choice! Excellent food in a divine setting! If you ever find yourself stuck for something to eat, we are taking part in #NewcastleRestaurant Week too – feel free to swing by at some point!’, however, is perfect. This reply shows that you are advertising your business in a casual way, and at the same time, are acknowledging the original tweet and replying to it in the right manner, almost in the same way you would talk to a friend. Using the hashtag in the reply will also enable you to be found if someone searches ‘#NewcastleRestaurant’ too, so be sure to include the key hashtag in a reply if you can!

It’s pretty simple!

Searching and engaging with a particular hashtag seems particularly daunting at first, but we hope this guide has explained things a little better, and helped you get a better understanding of how you can implement hashtags into your marketing efforts.

Websites like Socialert can be used to help track trending hashtags (head on over and give it a little try!), and it can be used to track how many people have used this tweet, how many tweets have contained this word, and other handy info like that. Be sure to check it out, it’s a great weapon for any marketer to add to his arsenal!

socialert example

Twitter’s trending feed is also a great way to see what hashtags are popular, and allow you to think of a way to get your business involved in a trending topic with potentially hundreds of customers waiting! Join in a conversation regarding a particular topic, or start one yourself!

twitter trending

That’s it for the latest edition of Magic Mouse’s Twitter How To guide! We’ll be taking a look at how you can change your cover photo on Twitter in the next part of our guide. Until then, happy hashtagging!

The Magic Mouse Media Team