If you’ve seen any ad lately, chances are there’s something hashtagged in it.
Hashtags have become a standard part of marketing campaigns. They’re a quick and simple way to maximize the reach of a piece of content.
They can also be a fun way for potential customers to engage with your company -- check out on Twitter what Abbott Labs’ news arm, @AbbottNews, does with the #lifetothefullest hashtag.
For healthcare social media marketing, hashtags can play an integral role in reaching new prospects.
What Are Hashtags?
For those unfamiliar with hashtags -- a hashtag is a word or series of words (with no spaces) preceded by a pound sign (#), more formally known as an “octothorpe.” It’s purpose? To connect posts about a certain topic. Hashtagged items can appear anywhere in a post.
Hashtags allow a social network to categorize and group posts together in a single stream, making it easier for those searching for a specific topic to find related information.
Hashtagging was first introduced in 2007 on Twitter as a way for users to find related content or conversations. Other popular social media networks, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, added it to their services within a few years. Marketers were quick to start using hashtags as a way to join those streams and promote their products or services.
Here’s more of an in-depth look at the role of hashtags in online marketing.
Why Use Hashtags in Healthcare Social Media Marketing?
Hashtags have become an important component of social media management. In fact, it’s hard to find a social media post that doesn’t have something hashtagged in it.
For healthcare tech marketers, using hashtags is a powerful -- and free -- tool. They can help your company reach prospects, stay relevant, and not lose ground to your competition.
Hashtagged posts are particularly important when you’re trying to engage with new customers at all stages of their buyer’s journey.
A hashtagged post gets your information in front of a prospect as they seek resources. It also makes sure your company is part of a conversation about a specific topic you’re targeting.
In the awareness stage, a prospect has found they have an issue that needs to be addressed and are just starting to define exactly what their issue is and are doing some cursory research. While in the consideration stage, a potential buyer knows exactly what their issue is and is in research mode, seeking out more information to help them solve the problem.
During both these stages, healthcare tech marketers can use hashtags in social posts to draw in prospects who otherwise may not have found them through traditional online searches.
In the decision stage, leads can use your company’s hashtag or branded hashtag to see what others are saying about you and their experiences with your product. Think of it as a mini reference check.
Trade Show Social Media
Most trade shows went digital in 2020 and 2021, and signs indicate organizers may permanently offer a remote option for participants. That makes effective trade show marketing even more important -- before, during, and after the show.
Learn your trade shows' official hashtags (i.e. #FABTECH2020) -- almost every show has one. Use it to join in the conversation and get noticed by potential leads.
Harnessing the power of hashtags is an easy way for your company to quickly react to trending topics and be at the forefront of the conversations around them.
In an extreme example, the COVID-19 pandemic provided healthcare tech companies that had a useful product or service, or helpful information, a marketing opportunity.
Many healthcare tech companies began appropriately using terms like #COVID19 or #Coronavirus, or even #Telemedicine, in their posts to stay in front of existing followers while attracting new leads.
Explore #telemedicine software features. A simpler solution. AdvancedTelemedicine integrates with AdvancedEHR so you get all these virtual healthcare features without needing more software.https://t.co/aM1QWJ4saB pic.twitter.com/e7T9YsrgBR— AdvancedMD (@advancedmd) March 24, 2020
To help support our customers during #COVID19 we have integrated @CDCgov guidance directly into our free medical reference app, @epocrates. Learn more via @BeckersHR: https://t.co/C5XVuG524D pic.twitter.com/dzu7Rr7k9P— athenahealth (@athenahealth) March 20, 2020
Keeping up With Competition
Using hashtags in your company’s social posts can also help you keep pace with your competitors. It’s not uncommon to see competitors use the same hashtags -- even if they’re posting about being at the same event.
Healthcare tech marketers can use hashtags to spy on the competition and adjust their B2B social media strategy accordingly.
The Risk of Not Using Hashtags in Healthcare Social Media Marketing
Hashtags are not required for each and every social media post you make. They are helpful, however, and there are downfalls to not including them in your marketing strategy.
While it is important for a company to have a social media presence, without using hashtags you’re leaving the door wide open for prospects to pass you by without even knowing it.
In some senses, not using hashtags in social media posts is just social broadcasting to your existing audience without reaching potential new customers.
Finding the Best Hashtags for Business Growth
As trends shift, so, too, do popular hashtags. While it’s important for healthcare tech marketers to keep up with what hashtags are seeing a lot of traction, there are some hashtags that have a longer lifespan.
Regardless of which healthcare tech segment you fall into, there are hashtags that will help your company reach prospects.
Tip: An easy way to start finding what hashtags might work for your company is to hop on Twitter and do a search of the subject you’re intending to post about. From there, you’ll see what hashtags are typically appearing with related posts and can integrate them into your own social media.
While healthcare technology marketing has many different facets, some common hashtags in a few different sectors we’re seeing include:
- Electronic Medical Records (EMR): #telemedicine, #digitalhealth, #AI, #medical
- Patient Engagement Software: #digitalhealth, #patient, #patientengagement, #patientcare
- Telemedicine Software: #telemedicine, #patientcare, #digitalhealth #instacare
Hashtagging Across Different Social Platforms
In the social media sphere, it’s important to remember there are nuances in how each platform uses hashtags. What works on Twitter may not work as well on LinkedIn.
It’s also important to keep in mind that each platform serves different purposes for different audiences. Make sure your messaging is appropriate and done well for the platform your posting on -- poor judgement or a post full of errors only casts doubt about your company and erodes its credibility.
How to Use Hashtags on Facebook for Business
Facebook serves a broader age range who is more apt to have a longer digital conversation.
Search for a specific hashtag from your search bar in the top-left corner. See what's being talked about on a regular basis, but not so much that you'll get lost in the shuffle. A hashtag that sees use every day is great; a hashtag that someone uses every second is not.
Since Facebook just recently got back in the hashtag game, don't put hashtags in mid-sentence -- keep them at the end of your post. Folks just aren't used to seeing #hashtags mid-sentence, and they can be #jarring to #read at first.
How to Use Twitter Hashtags
Twitter is a catch-all for short, punchy conversations. It's a popular for companies (and their frustrated customers) to make customer service-type engagements.
To find the best twitter hashtags for business, use the search feature in the top-right corner. You can "follow" hashtags on Twitter to get notifications whenever someone uses that tag.
It's OK to stick hashtags in the body of your post on Twitter, but keep your hashtag total to 1-2 per post.
How to Use Hashtags on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is where professionals go online to network or find resources. Businesspeople use hashtags to learn trends and insight about their industry and job role.
Use the search bar in the top-middle of LinkedIn's navigation to search for hashtags. By clicking on one, you can learn how many people follow that tag. Shoot for tags that are followed by 100+ people. One you get into six figures, you may have trouble getting noticed.
The best LinkedIn hashtags usually pertain directly to an industry, product, or service. You're probably wasting time trying to get attention with #FridayFeeling.
LinkedIn hashtags for business (meaning, not for job seekers) should go at the bottom of your post. Use 3-5 per post, or even more if you're feeling frisky.
How to Use Hashtags on Instagram
To find the best Instagram hashtags for business, use the search bar up top. The results show you the total number of times Instagrammers have used that hashtag before.
Most users place Instagram hashtags in a long stream at the end of a post. Like with Twitter, they're often more generic (i.e. #beautiful, #photography) than those on LinkedIn.
Want to Learn More About B2B Hashtagging?
Check out these strategies, used every day by healthcare social media agencies:
- How to Use Hashtags on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram
- B2B Social Media Advertising Tips for Beginners
- Creating an Inbound Marketing Strategy in Healthcare Technology
Want to learn more great ways to call attention to your brand, products, and services?
Struggling to gain traction with your SaaS or medical device social media marketing (or email, blogging, or video)? Check out our free 4 Steps to Build a Brand Awareness Strategy Guide:
(Editor's note: This article was originally published in April 2020 and was recently updated.)