Simply put, hashtags are a word or phrase with the hash sign (#) in front of them that help identify different subject matters within social media platforms.
Why are they important?
Hashtags are an important tool of the digital marketing world. They help to vastly increase your social media engagement with possible new clients/customers. Hashtags filter your social media posts so that they can be searchable and linkable. As an example, if you click on a hashtag you will be brought to a page that includes posts that all share the same hashtag. This system allows users to search for posts that all have a common topic.
Why do businesses use them?
This all falls down to engagement. Using hashtags almost always leads to higher engagement of possible new customers/clients and helps increase your brand awareness. Users that search a hashtag that your posts also come under, are likely to stumble upon your business and engage with you, becoming potential followers and possible new customers!
Before you start typing up hashtags for your business to use, you need to make sure that the hashtags you are using are relevant to your business and will fit into your social media strategy. If your business has Instagram or Twitter accounts or is thinking of setting them up, then hashtags are definitely a key part of your research. If your business engages with its audience and customers through the use of emails as an example, then hashtags are irrelevant to you.
Know your audience!
By making sure you research your target audience before you start marketing your business you should have some idea of what kind of hashtags to use to catch the attention of other users. For example, if the age of your target audience is of the younger generation than you want to make sure your hashtags are trending and fit specifically to that group of individuals. This will help to make sure your potential new customers stick around and support your brand longer. Using hashtags also shows that you follow social media trends and want to extend your digital reach.
Make sure you follow trends and keep in mind what your target market are researching for to grab their attention!