The humble hashtag changed the way people engage on social media in 2010 when Twitter moved trending topics on to its homepage to drive conversation on popular keywords or phrases that people had ‘hashtagged’. The hashtag is now used across multiple social media channels including Instragram, Facebook and Pinterest which makes it a powerful tool for connecting with one common identifier.

While it may be clear how the hashtag can be used as a social function, the power of the hashtag should not be overlooked by businesses with a primarily B2B function as it enables you to:

• Establish yourself and your company as thought leaders in your market
• Get your message across to the media who are increasingly using digital channels to source news
• Engage with your target audience at industry events by using the set hashtag
• Contextualize your online communications

Tweets that include a hashtag and a link generate the highest engagement levels, so here are our top tips for using this handy little symbol:

• Don’t use more than 2 or 3 hashtags in one post, otherwise it can result in your message being lost
• Don’t put a bunch of words together in one hashtag – Something like #doireallyhavetogotoworktoday may make sense to you, but to everyone else it is a jumbled mess that will just confuse your audience
• Do hashtag words or phrases that truly resonate with your audience rather than piggybacking on irrelevant keywords just because they are trending in an attempt to maximise reach. Believe us tweeting “Check out our latest special offers on our chromatography equipment #TheOscars # #RoyalBaby #NoMakeUpSelfie” will not have the desired effect as you’re targeting the wrong audience who won’t be interested in what you have to say
• Do use the set hashtags for any events you may be attending to ensure your posts get picked up by other people attending. You can also use them for competitions and promotions.
• Do try out new hashtags to see how your audience responds, once you know what works – stick at it!

When used correctly, hashtags are a great way to maximise the reach of your posts and there are some organisations are using hashtags really well to promote their brand, just remember to keep them simple, specific and sparse. Don’t forget you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook and see how we use hashtags!