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How to Use Hashtags to Promote your Business

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Hashtags and social media. You see them constantly on you Facebook and Instagram feeds and even in advertisements that integrate #haveityourway and other hashtags into their campaign. But how do hashtags impact your bottom line in a positive way? By increasing the exposure and marketing reach of your business, quite simply. But let's back up and take a look at what a hashtag is, and how it works to drive traffic and awareness to your company.

Hashtags, at least for restaurant purposes, exist primarily on Instagram. Facebook occasionally dabbles in hashtags, but for the most part, hashtags exist as a function on Instagram in order to search and find photos by categories. If you want to know how popular a hashtag is, type it into Instagram and results will pop up telling you how many times the hashtag has been used. Millions of uses are not uncommon for the most popular hashtags. Similarly, you can search by a specific hashtag - #food52 - for example, and all the pictures which have that hashtag in their copy or comments (we'll get into that in a minute) will show up in the search. This is the power of hashtags in terms of boosting your image. The most popular search results will always show up in the first nine images (typically, the images with the most likes) and below that, they will appear in chronological order. So you won't get much 'staying power' in terms of visibility from using a hashtag, but you will definitely boost your audience exposure.

When using hashtags, it makes sense to collect 20 or 30 that you can use in the comments section of every single Instagram post. Putting in the comments vs. the copy (what you write when you post your image) is crucial for several reasons. Too many hashtags will make your ad copy hard to read and look distracting/unattractive if you automatically cross post to Facebook. The comments have the same search power as the copy, so putting your hash tags in the comments, under a couple *** icons, makes your copy look more attractive. You can and should develop a couple hashtags which are unique to your restaurant - the name of your restaurant group for example - which you can put in the copy in order to allow your customers to know to use that specific 'custom' hashtag too. By using a custom hashtag, you also drive up the visibility of all your posts in one place. For the collection of hashtags, do some research. Chances are good there are regional ones used in your town or city, which is important as if you don't geotarget your hashtags, you'll draw an international audience. "Likes" and "follows" are great, but they won't increase your ROI unless you're targeting to a local crowd who can actually visit you. After that, look for hashtags from your favorite food and wine publications (#eater) as well as ones that are popular for food in general (#foodstagram). Once you have a collection, save them somewhere on your mobile device so that you may easily copy and paste into the comment of every single Instagram post you put up. Your likes, followers, and digital traffic will increase and done right, this will eventually lead to foot traffic into the door of your restaurant.



2016-09-06 00:00:00
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