If you’re at all familiar with social media, you’ve no doubt encountered the hashtag, a clickable word or string of words relevant to a specifi c topic, preceded by the # symbol. In a relatively short time, hashtags have become essential to businesses large and small on sites like Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr — and now Facebook — for generating new revenue and for client retention and referrals.
THE FACEBOOK DIFFERENCE
Facebook differs fundamentally from Twitter and other social networking sites, and its integration of hashtags differs as well. Traditionally, Facebook has been more personal, and users are less likely to use the site to interact with brands and seek products.
“Popular theory is that other sites allow users to be more anonymous and foster a freedom of expression, leading to more viral posts and immediacy,” explains Erin Snyder Dixon, author, business consultant, and owner of Extremities Spa Salon in Newport News, Va. “That doesn’t mean Facebook doesn’t have a place for business branding, but it does demand that users understand how to best integrate it.”
Here are the basics you need to know to get started using this emerging trend:
Your Facebook privacy settings override hashtags. If you post on your profi le or salon page using a hashtag, it doesn’t mean everyone can automatically see it. You must set your privacy settings to Public. If you use a hashtag in a post that you only share with a certain group of friends, for example, the post will only be visible to that group. Even when you add a hashtag to your post, your default privacy settings still apply.
Search for hashtags or bookmark them on Facebook by URL. Use the URL: www.facebook. com/hashtag/ and then include your keyword on the end. For example, type in www.facebook.com/hashtag/nailart, and you’ll land on a list of posts about nail art. Use the hashtag search feature to fi nd new pages and potential clients. Hash tagging your own content can also help you keep track of it. If you tag your posts with #jessicanailartist or #jessicanaildiva, then expect when you click on that hashtag to see all the content you’ve tagged in that manner.
Use hashtags to promote contests. “Creating a contest where your entry includes the business’ hashtag or contest name at the end (e.g., #nailsonmain,#nailsabouttowncontest) is an effective way of getting guests and hashtags working together,” explains Shannon Leehr, an educator for STX, a salon software company. The caveat is that because of Facebook contest promotional rules, people can’t enter your contest on Facebook by clicking on your hashtag as they can on other social media sites. But they can find your contest across several platforms by seeing the hashtag promoted in your Facebook posts.
Create a catchy hashtag for clients to use when they post about their service. This can help to brand and position your business to distinguish it from competitors. You can make up any hashtag you want (all hashtags have to be one word, and they are not case sensitive); however, Dixon advises researching any potential hashtag before you use it. “Make sure the hashtag refl ects the trend/topic intended. Short hashtags that are easy to remember or identify with are better than long strings. Be cautious and research the hashtags your competition is using. Adopting the tag of a competitor could unwittingly drive your business their way and expose the fan base you have built to your competition’s marketing efforts.”
Additionally, you might inadvertently use a hashtag that’s already in use for a brand that’s completely unrelated to your topic. Review Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Google+ to make sure your hashtag is not already in use by other brands.
“Every business and nail artist should have their own call sign or hashtag to link back to the business,” Leehr says. “It shows all the work completed by this business or artist and suggests whom to ask for. Techs can use this hashtag as their portfolio too.” Example: #askforkimmy, #phoenixnails. You can also occasionally tag more generally to let locals fi nd you by area and stumble across your business: #phoenix, #phoenixdeals.
Monitor Your Results. On Twitter, popular hashtags are displayed on a “trending” section. According to Dixon, however, some early evidence shows that hashtags in Facebook posts may actually hurt their chances of going viral. Some brands have created aggressive marketing campaigns using hashtags on Facebook, but because of the more personal nature of Facebook, marketing that is too blatant and promotional is likely to drive less engagement, fewer clicks, and less reach.
“Whether hashtags work for your brand is a complicated matter that can only be fully evaluated with trial and error, constantly tracking results, and adjusting as the environment changes,” explains Dixon. “Facebook’s algorithms are constantly changing, so what works today may not work next week or even later this evening. But take comfort that a well-managed relationship-building program can far outperform the one-hit wonder nature of a viral post. “
Ultimately, your goal in using hashtags in your Facebook posts is to engage an audience who may not have seen your post otherwise. Fortunately, you can monitor the results in Facebook Insights. Keep an eye on your Reach and Engagement Numbers; these will reveal whether or not your hashtags are effectively boosting your posts. At the top right-hand of your Facebook page, click Insights, then click the Reach column to see which of your posts are getting the highest Reach.
Here are some popular hashtags that salon owners and techs add to their posts to promote business and join a global conversation:
#nailart, #behindthescenes, #notd, #instanails, #nailporn, #tbt, #manimonday,
#manicure, #pedicure, #nailswag, #naturalnails, #gelpolish.
Here are some salons that have had success using hashtags on Facebook. Typethe name of the page in Facebook’s search bar, then scroll through the pages tosee examples of hashtags at work.
> Cherry’s Nail Bar
> Perfect 10 Nail Salon
> Pretty Pinkies
> Cloud 9 Salon & Spa
> Nushka’s Spa
Use these hashtags to help us see your posts:
Visit www.nailsmag.com/hashtag101 to learn about hashtag basics.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.