(Submitted by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

For individuals on social media, hashtags are either fun or annoying. Many times I hear, “I just don’t get it” or “why are there so many?” A hashtag is a word or short phrase that begins with #, which is called an octothorpe (or pound sign or number sign). Absolutely anything can be used as a hashtag and anyone can create or use them. Hashtags are used to group together or organize your social media posts as well as increase the visibility of your posts.

So how does this help my business? Another common question, I get often. If you use a hashtag to identify your business on a regular basis, your customers will begin to use the same hashtag to market for you. It is also beneficial to add additional hashtags that may group your location, industry, event, or demographic.

One hashtag example is having a conference hashtag so anyone at the event can tweet speaker quotes, pictures, etc. Below is a picture that shows an example listing six hashtags. Anyone searching for those hashtags now has the potential to see this picture which also means there is an opportunity for a new sale. Hashtag marketing is easy, free, and has the potential for millions to see your products and business.

Hashtag pic