Using Hashtags Successfully

hashtagsHashtags are becoming more and more part of our daily lives, they are an essential part of any social media campaign and if you haven’t yet attended a wedding with its own hashtag you undoubtedly will soon!  The hashtag was born on August 25, 2007 in a Twitter posting and was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2010, so as the hashtag’s popularity continues to grow it’s important to use them correctly and understand the subtle difference in usage between the social media platforms.

Twitter

Hashtags on Twitter, the first platform to use them (you can read about the fascinating history here), tend to be more focused on a topic of conversation, or a group of people, use a focused hashtag that directly relates to your business or targets the audience you wish to reach.

You can take advantage of the trending tweets, shown on the left hand side of your home page, as well as regular hashtags such as national days or networking hours. Find the networking hour that relates to your business and schedule posts to push out at this time. 

Twitter gives further advice here on How to choose a hashtag.

Instagram

Hashtags on Instagram are often more focused on a description of the content.   You can include up to 30 per post & the trend is to use as many as you can. However do bear in mind that if your hashtags become very general & not focused on your business / content, you may be gaining lots of followers but they may be the wrong kind of follower—not interested in your business or only interested in being followed back.  Too many hashtags can dilute your message, but however many hashtags you decide upon we suggest you bunch them all at the end otherwise the post is pretty unreadable.

There are a number of online tools that can help you research the usage & popularity of a hashtag.  We like Keyhole.co as it has a great keyword and hashtag tracking tool.

Remember to use a campaign or brand hashtag which is trackable, best practise is that they shouldn’t mention your business name, but should represent your business and what you stand for.

Facebook

Facebook began to roll out their hashtag tool in 2013 on the back of the success seen on Twitter.  Hashtags serve fundamentally the same function on Facebook but they are still not as widely used.  Do use some well selected hashtags but do bear in mind that research has shown (according to this article in Social Media Today) that posts without hashtags fare better than those with hashtags!

How to pick a Hashtag

When deciding on a hashtag you can either take advantage of an existing one or you can create your own. 

Whichever you decide to use make sure you do your research first, the hashtag needs to be relevant to your business & should not be ambiguous or have alternative meanings.  There have been some high profile hashtag blunders in recent years (Susan Boyles #Susanalbumparty springs to mind).

Hashtag Etiquette

Below are a few do’s and don’ts to summarise the best use of hashtags

Do:

  • use hashtags in conjunction with images
  • use trending hashtags that tie in with your own
  • research hashtags first to see how popular they might be

Don’t

  • replace all your content with hashtags
  • hashtag #everythinginonesentence #as #it #is #difficult #to #read
  • go overboard on trending hashtags – use, don’t abuse

A hashtag should be something someone might search for, the main aim is to make your content easier to find, so keep it short and sweet and don’t over complicate.

Red Desk can help with researching suitable hashtags for your business or next marketing campaign.  We also offer social media training.

 

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