When we talk to clients about their hotel’s online marketing strategy and search engine optimization (SEO) tactics we often mention keywords. We all have a general idea of what keywords are and what keywords you want associated with your property. But, as soon as we talk about hashtags when it comes to a social media strategy, many clients say they’re unsure about what they are and how to use them.
Hashtags can be confusing or harder to incorporate into social media posts but can be immensely beneficial to your overall marketing strategy. If you think of hashtags and your mind immediately draws a blank, try thinking about them as keywords for the social media sphere. The only difference is the use of the pound or hash sign.
Hashtags originated on Twitter and were used as a tool to separate out conversations or specific topics. So, if you wanted to read only tweets that focused on travel, you could put “#travel” into the search bar and then you’d be presented with a live stream of all tweets that are using the #travel tag.
Now, our recommendation is not to go onto your social media networks and add hashtags to every word you write as there are some best practices and rules of etiquette to follow. Plus, would you really want to look at something like?: Book a #room at the #BestHotel ever for your #summer #vacation! Great #rates and #amenities.
No, it looks obnoxious and we want you to think strategically. What should you be doing when it concerns your social media pages and hashtags?
Conversations: You should use hashtags to jump in on social conversations or provide a unique perspective on a trending topic. Facebook adopted hashtags into its platform, though hashtag use on Facebook isn’t as popular as it is on Twitter or Google+, and can be seen through the inclusion of a trending feed. The trending feed, much like Twitter’s, highlights the most popular conversation topics. Now, if the topic relates to your geographic location or an event in your city, it would be smart to join that conversation and add your own thoughts on the topic.
Exposure: Use your tourism board’s designated hashtags to get more exposure for your posts. We have a few clients in Oregon and some of their posts use the official #TravelOregon hashtag when talking about Oregon-based activities or just showing pride in the state they reside in. It’s completely acceptable to use others’ hashtags to share your information as long as it’s relevant to the hashtag. Location-based tags can also be useful especially if you’re trying to capture the attention of someone still in the planning phase of a vacation. They may be online searching for posts about #Colorado, #LosAngeles, #NewJersey, etc. and your post can be a part of their search results. Hashtags can be an easy way to increase exposure organically and reaching customers that are more likely to click on your post or learn more about your brand.
Conversations on Google+ regarding Colorado and other related tags.
SEO: Hashtag your keywords - wisely - to get in front of new audiences and people searching for profiles to follow. If you’re located in an area that has amazing hiking trails and you’re sharing trail maps or hiking tips, try adding a hash before the words “hiking” or “hike.” It keeps the hashtag relevant and provides information to people that have already indicated an interest in that topic.
Many of the hashtags revolve around keywords or topics our brand is recongized with.
Be smart about the words you hashtag and make sure the information you’re sharing is relevant to that topic. A general rule of thumb is to have three or fewer hashtags in a social media post, more than that and it looks cluttered or looks like spam.
Do you use hashtags in your social media posts? Share your tips below in the comments section!