digital marketingHashtag marketing: It’s the next big thing in digital marketing, and it’s actually already here. #TheTimeIsNow.

The cool part about hashtags is that they’re really convenient for search engine optimization; Twitter hashtag pages often appear on SERPs (over 80% of internet users are using a search engine like Google or Bing, and approximately 88% of business decisions are influenced by search engines, too). Hashtags also work well on mobile devices because they don’t clutter up screens and they allow search engine users to find relevant information very quickly — this isreally important, since one-third of all smartphone users consider their phones to be their primary internet source, and four out of five smartphone users have made a purchase on their phones.

But how can you actually use hashtags in everyday digital marketing?

Good question! It’s easier than it seems. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Start with a big list, do some analytics, and narrow it down. A Search Engine Watch article from February referenced a recent State of the Union address given by President Obama; for this speech, SEW said, White House staffers prepared a list of 26 hashtags focused on core messages in the speech. After monitoring the metrics of each hashtag on Twitter, staffers then whittled the list down to the top seven, and then the top three. These top tags were then used in subsequent tweets. Your business can actually do something similar with social media-focused digital marketing optimization, although probably on a smaller scale.
  2. Use software to figure out what’s hot right now. There are plenty of free services available which provide info about what’s trending now, what trended in the past, the tags that were recently “created,” the most popular tags according to topic/location … Pretty much any data you could possibly want is available to you. By figuring out which tags generate the most interest, you’ll optimize your limited character space.
  3. Don’t go overboard. While you want to use distinctive hashtags (No #blessed, #cool, or #fun allowed) you also don’t want to get too excited here (#SorryButNoOneWantsToReadThisHashtagPlusYoureWastingLetterSpaces). Good hashtag campaigns typically use the same collection of tags, not necessarily with every tweet, but definitely on a consistent basis.

So now we want to hear from you — if you’ve used hashtags in a social media and digital marketing strategy before, what worked for you? (#Winning) What definitely didn’t work? (#EpicFail) Let us know, and make sure to include a #hashtag, too!