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Once upon a time the hashtag was just something we used behind a number. From those energetic “WE’RE # 1” signs at sports games to… well… those energetic “WE’RE # 1” signs at sports games. Whoever thought that the hashtag would be one of the trendiest symbols on your keyboard? Heck, have you seen the latest Arby’s commercial? Even saying the word “hashtag” is part of our hip, everyday lingo.

You may have noticed that pretty much everything in our daily life has a hashtag now. The television shows we watch, the department stores we shop at, even a colorful box of cereal or the deodorant we use has a hashtag to go with it. Does there really need to be a hashtag for shower gel and toothpaste? Well, in this day and age, the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, the website “Market Wired” revealed in a study by “RadiumOne” that 70% of consumers use hashtags as of 2013.

What does hashtagging do?

The hashtag serves many functions in the world of social media. Let’s say you want to look up what’s going on in the world of video games. You can look up #videogames to see the latest posts with that hashtag. However, if you have a specific game you’re interested, you can type in the name of it with a hashtag behind it: #SonicTheHedgehog. This same strategy has become a key factor in business strategies, working as a way to get the attention of the millions of people who use social media.

One thing businesses do with the hashtag is create a brand for themselves. When you make a post on social media, it’s important to create and use hashtags that implement your company name or slogan. For example, Taco Bell uses the hashtag #TacoBell. By creating this hashtag that’s unique to their company, others use it too when they’re talking about Taco Bell on social media. “Sitting in the drive thru at 2 in the morning. #taco #craving #TacoBell.”

How to make that snazzy hashtag

In the world of content marketing you may see common tags like #contentmarketing #seo #branding and other such tags. By including hashtags that are commonly used in your posts, you’re likely to get more hits from people who check that tag on a daily basis. For example, during holiday season retail stores might use the hashtag “Black Friday” because it’s the biggest shopping day of the year. If stores use #BlackFriday, they will get a huge amount of hits because of people searching for deals on that well known shopping day.

But you have to do more than include popular tags. Sure, this will get people to find your posts, but you always want them to remember who you are. This is where branding comes in. Stores like Target don’t just use the hashtag “Black Friday” during the holiday season, they put themselves in the tag too: #Target. You can even take it a step further: #shopping #holidays #discounts #gifts. This opens up more ways for people to find their posts because it’s using more than the name of the company, but a specific event (Black Friday) and different words attached to it (shopping, holidays, discounts, gifts).

Before sharing your posts, really look at your article and see what it includes. What else is there besides content marketing? Are there tips and strategies? Is there a word in those strategies that you can hone in on? Even simple things like cereal have several words that they can tag: #breakfast #cereal #morning #food #delicious. However, be sure to use hashtags sparingly. Ken Mueller of “Social Media Today” brings up an important point when it comes to hashtags: choose them carefully and do NOT flood your posts with them. When you pick words to tag, make sure they are relevant to your content. If you’re tagging about cereal, there’s no need to tag about toast, even if you yourself may eat toast with your cereal. #and #there’s #no #need #to #tag #everything, simply tag a few words that are relevant.

Hashing out a conclusion

It may be hard to believe, but when you think of your business, you also have to think of the hashtag. Even “Forbes” has gone on record to say that you need a hashtag strategy with your business. This day and age, “hashtag” and “business” go hand and hand. Make sure your tags relate to your company, but also remember to have a bit of fun with them. Look at some company hashtags sometime, I used #TacoBell as an example because if you check out their page, they will actually respond when people use their tags, whether it’s competitors, other businesses, celebrities, or just the general audience. You have to remember your brand as you work to build an audience, and the hashtag will help you pull in that audience and keep them interested in what you’re doing.