The not-so-humble hashtag


hashtagsAs a citrus grower’s daughter and a bit of a closet greenie (you should see the eco-friendly millipede trap I designed the other day), this 1millionwomen Facebook post, titled: The orange peel is here to stay, caught my eye.

Little did I realise that the story would perfectly demonstrate the power of social media and the not-so-humble hashtag.

It all started when London-based creative Nathalie GordonĀ @awlilnatty posted a photo of Whole Foods’ peeled oranges in individual plastic containers, with the tongue-in-cheek tweet: “If only nature would find a way to cover these oranges so we didn’t need to waste so much plastic on them.” The hashtag #orangegate was born and in four days the post was retweeted 100,000 times.

Nathalie quickly became known as #orangegate girl and it wasn’t long before Whole Foods responded with:

@awlilnatty Definitely our mistake. These have been pulled. We hear you, and we will leave them in their natural packing: the peel.

Definitely a win against wasteful packaging and a fine example of how an individual can use social media to create positive change.

Now this is how a hashtag can take off organically, but as a business owner, can you use a hashtag to turbo-charge your social media presence? YES!

{ For the novices out there, a hashtag is when you type the # symbol before a word or group of words, making it a searchable link. Hashtags were born on Twitter, but have since emerged on other platforms, particularly Instagram and to a lesser extent, Facebook. }

Here are 3 ways you can use hashtags on your business social media pages:

  1. Add relevant keyword hashtags to your posts, such as #clarevalley #wine or #riesling (if you’re in the wine industry, for example), so that your brand is in the mix when someone is searching for a fine drop.
  2. Create a hashtag for your brand. Make sure you choose one that’s unique and then splash it everywhere – your website, bricks and mortar business, email signatures, marketing material. Encourage your customers to include your brand hashtag when posting pics of your products or services. It’s all about them getting on your marketing bandwagon (for free!)
  3. Use a unique hashtag to run a social media competition. A little reward doesn’t hurt! Let’s face it, people are even more likely to use, share or retweet your hashtag if they know there’s a prize up for grabs and this boosts your reach online.

Have you used a hashtag to promote your business? Tell me what has worked for you




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