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. Here’s one guide to using hashtags that will help you better understand the intricacies behind it and how you can use it as an effective tool to increase your presence on social media.
What Are Hashtags?
Hashtags are words, titles or phrases that help send a powerful message. They can help you categorize your posts, increase engagement, attract followers to your niche, strengthen your brand image and help you reach your target audience (and vice versa). Instagram generates around 95 million photos posted on its platform each day. As a result, they incorporate the hashtag system to effectively deliver the right content to the right people.
Using hashtags too frequently, however, can actually hinder the progress your business aims 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 your taste buds bland and dry. The same feeling can happen to your users when too many hashtags are present. Without a clear strategy in mind, your message 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 your business. With Instagram and Twitter, you’re 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, you may lose some important info that can prevent you from getting your overall message across (an issue most people tend to not have normally).
Linkedin allows you to use hashtags to get your updates accessible to people outside of your immediate LinkedIn network, without the need for comments or likes on your status updates. This raises brand awareness on LinkedIn for your company and your personal brand. Trickle in a few key hashtags in your profile or company page to help you increase your LinkedIn reach.
Facebook has pretty strict promotional rules, and due to the fact that most Facebook users posts and accounts are private, expect to see hashtags you search for on Facebook to be tied with influencers, brands, and publishers, rather than by individuals. You can 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 so you can view and possibly find other topics that interest your brand.
Pinterest hashtags only work in pin descriptions, and are not clickable (or searchable) in profile names, descriptions, board titles, board descriptions or board titles. Similar to Twitter, hashtags Pinterest help you better connect common conversations. However, when you click 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
Research What Other People are Hashtagging
Take a look at what hashtags are currently being used by your competition, your inspiration, or your personal profiles and you can quickly get an idea to generate better hashtags for your business. 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 you to directly search hashtags, and platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook can provide you with 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 tags in your own posts or on other influencers, so your users can get accustomed to any posts you lay out with tags.
Organize The Appropriate Hashtags
Start with a simple excel sheet if you’re aiming to create an efficient hashtag system. You’ll need to set things up manually and keep track of all performance metrics for the hashtags that you use, such as the frequency they’re used and which ones are best related to your most popular posts. Through these metrics, you can observe certain changes over time to make important decisions on which hashtags to use.
If you’re starting off with a stronger social media team, using tools like Iconosquare or Keyhole, can help you quickly generate reports to analyze the relationships with certain hashtags and your most popular posts.
Narrow Down Your Important Hashtags
There are two reasons more specific, smaller-volume hashtags are better for your brand: first, you 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 your business.
Test, Test, Test
91% of brands use seven or fewer hashtags per post. However, you can’t ever know how many hashtags work best for you until you test it. When doing research on the key hashtags for your business, take advantage of the other related tags that social media platforms may show you. On Instagram and Twitter, for example, you can easily find related tags when you type into the search bar, as they automatically generate prompt and related hashtags for you to try out.
Follow Your Custom Hashtag
When you follow 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 Your Brand Campaigns
It’s important to get creative and come up with a hashtag that’s unique and memorable for your brand. 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.