With the recent adoption of hashtags by Facebook, the benefit of incorporating them into your social media endeavors just became even more… beneficial. Made popular by the rise of Twitter, these identifiers are not only becoming more common, they are gaining value for healthcare practices.
Let’s do a quick #hashtag101.
What is a hashtag??
A “hashtag” is a word or phrase prefixed with a # sign (ie: #solutionreach). When the tagged word or phrase is placed in a platform that supports hashtags, it becomes clickable.
Once clickable, the message containing the hashtag is placed into a grouping of other postings that include the same hashtag. Anyone can click on the term and be taken to this list. For example, on the Solutionreach Facebook and Twitter pages we can add #solutionreach to our posts and tweets. If someone clicks on the hashtag, they will see a list of other posts that include #solutionreach - whether by us or by anyone else that used it. (Go ahead, try it!)
Time to get on-board!
Until now, Facebook hasn’t supported the linked topic identifiers. The fact that Facebook wasn’t hashtag-capable meant that someone following a specific hashtag wouldn’t get any information from the web’s most popular social media platform. Fortunately, Facebook took a lesson from Twitter and wizened up.
This is a game-changing development, so it’s time to take advantage of this free marketing tool and fine tune your hashtagging skills. There are different methods of marketing with hashtags, but the ideas listed below are a good place to start.
The key is to do just that: start. Experiment. Dive in. Pound signs don’t cost anything, so you already know that your “investment” is sound.
1. Tag Simply
• Overly complicated tags are too uncommon to be search-friendly, which means that there isn’t much value in smashing five words together.
Example: No one will find you with the tag #bestdentalpracticeinkansas.
• Avoid using too many hashtags in your posts – readers find it annoying, and it looks like a desperate marketing attempt. General rule: use no more than three hashtags in one post.
2. Research Potential Hashtags
• Before deciding which one to use, throw any potential hashtag into a search bar. The goal is to find a one that is in line with your objectives.
Example: #lasvegasoptomotrist returns no results when searched. If your goal is to attract readers via other users’ posts, no one will find you because no one is using it. On the other hand, if you’re trying to create a hashtag that is unique to you, you’ve found a winner.
3. Follow the Trends
• If you notice a bandwagon, jump on it!
Example: If everyone in your city is talking about the #nevadadrought, use the trend as an opportunity to throw yourself into the conversation.
• Holidays, events and viral content will all generate a lot of traffic.
Examples: #merrychristmas #getoutthevote #chirotradeshow. Once again, do your homework and determine which hashtags are being used for the topic.
4. Be Specific and Consistent
• Hashtags give you the ability to insert yourself into a highly targeted group. They act as identifiers, so incorporate them accordingly.
Example: Hashtagging with a city name is a common tactic for increasing traffic from browsers in that area. Similarly, hashtagging with your service or industry can lead potential patients your way if they are searching for something specific.
Example: “New patients receive a whitening treatment during the month of March! #saltlakecity #cosmeticdentistry” This will add you to a group of posts about your city, as well as one about cosmetic dentistry.
• If you have “created” your own hashtag, use it every time you post on the relevant topic.
Example: If you own Wasatch Plastic Surgery and you commonly post before and after pictures, you can hashtag each image post with #WPSpics. If someone sees one of your posts with your hashtag, they can easily click over to see other posts that include before and after pictures.
Have more questions? Go to Facebook or Twitter and ask away!
Now get to your social media sites and start #hashtagging!
About the author:
Amy LaVange is a professional educator for healthcare providers. She specializes in helping practices reduce inefficiencies and lower costs, so providers and their staff can spend less time worrying about their bottom line and more time caring for their patients. She currently manages communications for Solutionreach, where she consults with their clients and creates educational content to help them establish patient-centered practices by utilizing tools and techniques that allow them to streamline their productivity and improve their patient experience.