Why using place hashtags matters for local businesses

To hashtag or not to hashtag, that is the question. We know you can over do it with a hashtag which is why using the most relevant ones to your business is important. If you are a local business, Maybe* urges you to start with place.

Why use place hashtags?

Hashtags are a useful search tool. Not just for Instagram users to find inspiration, but for people to find, follow and engage with you. Hashtags can also be used to identify conversations you want to listen to and engage with, and inform what content you want yours to sit alongside. You want your content to be seen amidst that of  businesses in your place, and be seen by the people that trade and use them. Local hashtags allow you to share online space and conversation with people with whom you are likely to share customers, share struggles and successes, and a common passion and pride in the area in which you live and trade.

Customers want to shop locally, when restrictions permit. So help them help you by making your content easily discoverable.

"One thing the pandemic has given us is a sense of place, and place means community. Where once City centres were a rather impersonal metropolis, place level hashtags signpost the way to a rather more human and intimate experience" 

 

Andrew Busby, Retail Reflections

 

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A post shared by Shop Local - Bath (@shoplocalbath)

 

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A post shared by Visit Cheltenham (@visitcheltenham)

Who’s doing it well

Putney BID, Positively Putney launched the hashtag #shareourputney as a campaign which local and independent businesses could rally around. The hashtag provides a signpost for the BID and all the businesses in Putney who can then share all the content within the campaign, shining a light on each other's services, and the people behind them. When all businesses and placemakers get behind the hashtag, both social media engagement and reach increase, benefitting all of the businesses.

Maybe* Head of Retail Donna Callandar talks to Putney BID, Positively Putney about the success of #shareourputney

Harrogate is another great example of a place utilising the value of a hashtag. The Harrogate hashtag sits firmly at the centre of the Harrogate and wider Yorkshire conversation. The word cloud shows that Harrogate businesses have a lot to say about the snow and lockdown, as well as Happy New Year messaging and Veganuary. But we can also see multiple towns within the Harrogate area featuring in the business conversation showing that the area has plenty to say about place and offers plenty of variety.

Businesses in locations will share customers. By demonstrating the topics most frequently used in a place and inspiring engagement, everyone can benefit from the appeal of a local place whether it is its local beauty, a great market or a thriving art scene; providing consistent messaging around reasons to visit.

“The great thing about a place-based hashtag is that it is such a simple and easy way to help connect people and businesses together whose paths might not ordinarily cross in the real world! #ThinkHarrogate is all about promoting the wonderful assets and businesses of the #Harrogate district in its widest sense and is helping to increase engagement and encourage people to think ‘local first’ as a way to support our local economy”

 

Kathryn Daly, Think Harrogate

Key takeaway

Using place hashtags, be it just the place name such as #harrogate, or a campaign hashtag that a BID, council or group of businesses have created such as #shareourputney; acts as a collective campaign all businesses in a place can rally around. When local businesses use place hashtags in their own content, or follow a place hashtag to engage with, content becomes more discoverable at a local level, and a deeper level of connection to place and community grows.

With the Maybe* platform, you don’t have to be a social media pro to increase traffic and sales.

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