One of the joys of Twitter—in addition to being one of many great small business marketing solutions, it gives users access to a potentially unlimited number of clients. Users are able to communicate openly with other users and share everyday humor in succinct 140-character updates. One of the best ways to do this? Use hashtags. They're everywhere! They're easy to use! They have the potential to start Twitter revolutions! But are small business owners using them right?
Not too many of them. Most people know how easy it is to get swept up in the excitement of using hashtags, especially for people who are new to Twitter for small business marketing purposes, and are trying to cram as many things into a tweet as possible. Here are some easy-to-follow small business marketing guidelines to review before writing another update.
#FollowFriday is an awesome intro to #hashtags, but it's annoying when done incorrectly
Many small businesses that are active and social on social networks are familiar with the concept of #FollowFriday, or #FF for short. The concept was created as a way for people to find worthwhile people to follow while also increasing their follow lists. Think of it as making really polite, public recommendations in the form of shout-outs. Receiving a #FF shout-out message from someone feels like a pat on the back and evidence that someone is indeed reading all of these updates. Do keep in mind that there is no need to retweet the list to followers or even thank each #FF sender personally, unless the instance truly merits a message. Some Twitter pros admit to unfollowing people who send too many #FF messages, but most seem to agree that when sending a #FF of your own, don't forget to include a short reason why people should follow them. Perhaps the user is a small-biz wiz or writes a hilarious blog. Either way, your followers will appreciate it and may start to think of you as a valuable Twitter resource.
Too many #hashtags look like straight-up spam
It's very tempting to want to use as many hashtags as possible to garner as many followers and potential clients as possible, but hashtags can also be indicative of spam updates. Take, for instance, a small business owner who updates his or her blog with small business marketing tips. In addition to adding the post link he or she tacks a few hashtags on the end:
The list only ends when the characters run out, so while businesses are recommended to have fun with hashtags and use them freely, they may want to limit use to two or three max per tweet. It's not worth getting confused as a bot and potentially getting marked as spam by other users.
#HaveFun with #hashtags
Some of the best Twitter accounts openly have fun with hashtag use, dipping into trending tags and even creating some unique tags for a specific product, business or update type. Use hashtags to organize content; as a matter of fact, social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest already use them as organizational tools. Small business owners may use hashtags in marketing by creating business hashtags and encouraging people to use them for contest, promotions, Twitter chats, even as incentive to retweet messages. The options may seem endless and tweeters' fingers may be itching to hit that pound sign, but first, a word of warning: Try to keep things humorous while remaining professional, especially because Twitter is a public site that clients can easily see. For example, it's probably best to avoid using #waystogetoffthephone with funny phone excuses after ducking out of a customer call for the same reason. Keep the updates clean and don't post anything that identifies customers or complains about them in any way. #theend