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To Hashtag or Not – Tips for Using Hashtags in Restaurant Marketing

By Tricia Hoy

Is your social media marketing campaign reaching your target market?

The hashtag is a new consideration in marketing strategy.  According to Social Times, the hashtag was introduced to the masses in 2007 on Twitter by a fellow named Chris Messina who asked his followers “how do you feel about using a # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?

hashtags on Twitter

Since its introduction, the hashtag has grown legs not only on Twitter, but also in other popular platforms, including Instagram, SnapChat, and Facebook—as a subtle method of grouping social content and improving search ranking for key terms.

But to use them effectively, you need to understand how they affect search results and brand impressions in each of your social media platforms. Let’s take a closer look at optimal usage on several popular platforms:

Twitter:  A way to boost engagement, hashtags are still alive and well on Twitter. In fact, according to Post Planner, 40% of tweets with hashtags get retweeted. But don’t overdo it – the optimal numbers of hashtags on Twitter is between one and three, with more hashtags yielding less engagement. And remember, you’ve only got 140 characters—something to think about when developing your tweet.

Instagram: Go to town with hashtags on Instagram. On this platform, more is definitely better. Would you believe that the magic number of hashtags on Instagram posts is 11? Your picture may speak 1000 words, but only if it gets seen: to broaden your reach and searchability, add more relevant hashtags.

Facebook: The value is less clear on Facebook, where hashtags do not influence search results. Some argue that Facebook hashtags are a novelty, while others suggest there is no harm including them as part of your overall social media campaign. In some cases, they may encourage more sharing. But use them sparingly on Facebook to avoid the appearance of “spammy” messages.

To develop your brand or promote an upcoming event, such as a kids eat free night at Pedro’s Pizza in Pittsburg, you might consider hashtags like these:  #pedrospizza  #kidseatfree  #bestpizzainpittsburgh #pedrospittsburgh #familyfriendly #pedrospizzapittburgh  #kidsfreeatpedros.

Look for popular hashtags on the social media platforms you’re using—or use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to identify popular related search terms.

Hashtags can be an effective tool, but understanding how to use them on each social media platform can have a direct impact on the value they add to your marketing campaigns. Use them strategically!

For more on social media marketing for restaurants:

Read the Social Media Ebook now


Posted by Tricia Hoy

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Tags: Restaurant Marketing, social media

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