The hashtag (#) has become an important aspect to digital interaction, allowing people across different social media platforms to be brought together under the same idea. Still, despite it’s cemented popularity in the social media landscape, many people still do not understand how to properly use hashtags or how a hashtag benefits business. Here’s one guide that will help you better understand the intricacies behind the benefits to hashtags and how you can use it as an effective tool to increase engagement on social media.
What Are Hashtags?
Hashtags are words, titles or phrases that help send a powerful message. Hashtags can help categorize posts, increase engagement, attract followers to a certain niche, strengthen a brand image and help reach a target audience (and vice versa). Instagram generates around 95 million photos posted on its platform each day. As a result, Instagram incorporates the hashtag system to effectively deliver the right content to the right people.
Using hashtags too frequently, however, can actually hinder the progress businesses aim to make. Compare this event with seasoning salt – a little pinch can really make a meal impactful with every bite, but too much can leave taste buds bland and dry. The same feeling can happen to users when too many hashtags are present. Without a clear strategy in mind, messages can become pointless and inefficient.
Know The Differences Among Platforms
There are a couple of functional similarities and differences with hashtags over the main social media platforms that can make or break a business. With Instagram and Twitter looking at similar effects in outreach, engagement, and search capability. However, be cautious when using hashtags on Twitter. Due to the character limits per tweet, some important info can be lost that can prevent getting the overall message across (an issue most people tend to not have normally).
LinkedIn allows the use of hashtags to get updates accessible to people outside of an immediate LinkedIn network, without the need for comments or likes on status updates. This raises brand awareness on LinkedIn for companies and personal brands. Trickle in a few key hashtags on your profile or company pages to help increase LinkedIn’s reach.
Facebook has pretty strict promotional rules, and due to the fact that most Facebook user’s posts and accounts are private, expect to see hashtags that are searched for on Facebook to be tied with influencers, brands and publishers, rather than by individuals. Monitor Facebook hashtags by using the URL [facebook.com/hashtag/____ ] and including the keyword on the end. The results will show other similar hashtags that appear on the top of the page to view and possibly find other topics.
Pinterest hashtags only work in pin descriptions, and are not clickable (or searchable) in profile names, descriptions, board titles, or board descriptions. Similar to Twitter, Pinterst Hashtags help better connect common conversations. However, when clicking on a Pinterest hashtag, you’re able to view other pins that contain it and also pins that include the same word or phrase in their description— and it can even result in pins that include the word in its URL.
How To Use Hashtags For Your Business
Take a look at what hashtags are currently being used by competition, personal inspiration, or personal profiles and quickly get an idea to generate better hashtags. Make a list of what they’re hashtagging on their own photos and dive deeper into what key influencers in your industry are hashtagging (Influencers define their success by their large social media following, so it may help to take a glance at what they do).
Most social media apps allow hashtag searching and platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook can provide the most popular and relatable hashtags to check out. Twitter analytics is one tool to utilize on Twitter, as you can gain valuable insight for the benefits to hashtags and influencers.
Narrow Down Important Hashtags
There are two reasons a more specific, smaller-volume hashtag benefits brands: first, brands can compete in a smaller pool, and second, users are more likely to find what they need if they search for something specific. For example, if a user searches with #newchairs, they’ll probably find hundreds of photos from different vendors, but if they search #comfortablegamingchairs and find your post, they’ll be more likely to engage with that business.
91% of brands use seven or fewer hashtags per post. However, brands can’t ever know how many hashtags work best until they’re tested. When doing research on the key hashtags for a business, take advantage of the other related tags that social media platforms may show. On Instagram and Twitter, for example, easily find related tags when you type into the search bar, as they automatically generate prompt and related hashtags to try out.
When following your own hashtag, you can easily find anyone who talks about your business and better connect with them online (as long as their account isn’t private of course).
Use Hashtags With Brand Campaigns
It’s important to get creative and come up with a hashtag that’s unique and memorable for brands. Avoid common phrases and stick with something that can be easily associated with your brand and unlikely to be used in reference to something else. Campaign hashtags can be useful for generating momentum for an idea, promoting a new product or upcoming event, or even just inspiring people.