Okay, by now you should be no stranger to the hashtag. Some automated messages even know feel the need to say the hash or pound sign so that young folk know what they are talking about. While you may not be on the #hashtagtrain yet, you should be. Not only is the next generation of marketing on the ball with it, the bots and automated learning software running the internet is all over it too. Hashtags started on Twitter as a tool to promote a certain topic or idea and as a grouping tool. Pooling everything together so people could find things that interested them easily. Now they are everywhere.
Capitalization Doesn’t Matter- It just helps legibility and makes certain words pop
Why use hashtags?
Help you get found- lookup hashtags things that interest them like google search?
They increase engagement. Buddy Media put together some great research and found that you can double your engagement by using a few hashtags! Who doesn’t like more engagement? This same formula though about the 2 tweets is not relevant to Instagram, no one really cares how many you use on that platform, especially if mixed well but we will talk about that too.
People are using them for research. When looking for an event, a movement, or information about a topic. They can click on a hashtag and it will pull up and aggregate content that matches that hashtag or is relevant to it.
Here are some key points you need to consider and think about when you are using hashtags online.
Check your Hashtags-
You may think you are cute or clever or relatable with your hashtag but it could be tied to some other thing or could be slang for something unintended #RIMjobs comes to mind #BlackHateBook (Black Hat eBook). Think about how your tag could be an acronym or how the words go together and how that could change the interpretation of the tag altogether. Making your hashtag more specific can help you to sidestep some risk of it being tied to something scandalous or having it misused.
Do your hashtag research- If you are wanting to use a certain #hashtag, see if it is being used elsewhere and what comes up when you type it into Twitter or Facebook. This is going to help you not only stay brand consistent, but also make sure that you are not hijacking a tag that doesn’t fit your brand identity.
On your posts use 3-5 viral or common hashtags to grow.
Use Hashtags to Find Your Folks-
When people are using hashtags they tag something relatable to them or something in their life. You can use that as a business to find your perfect customer. If you are a dog groomer, for example, look up the hashtag #doglover or #bullymom or some other animal-related tag. Begin finding and following these people on social media. Develop relationships, find out where they hang out online so you can find similar people. This lets you know where your market is and allows you to begin interacting with your ideal client. These are more generic and then you would niche down further from there.
This is easiest to do on Twitter where you can chat with folks about a particular topic pretty easily as it is all housed under that chosen hashtag.
Know where and how to use Hashtags
So like I mentioned earlier, on Twitter, more than 2 hashtags will reduce engagement whereas on Instagram you can have up to 30. There is still a best usage for each platform. Here are the best practices that I found and gathered from the industry experts across the interwebs.
Google recommends you don’t use more than 3 hashtags. Using hashtags will allow for that post to go outside your circle of people and allow your content to be seen by strangers in hopes to expand your audience. If you don’t put hashtags in, Google will do it for you based on the content.
Don’t put more than 2 hashtags in the picture description unless it is to be humorous in some way. Your hashtags should be put in the comments after you post. I use Evernote to write them. Start with very broad hashtags #marketing then #relationshipmarketing then #bebold #tamstips. That is a simple way to help cast a net. It also allows for you to refresh your comments in order to stay more relevant and visible.
Use and follow tags on Instagram to find and add more new followers. Be the hunter. (Using these tags will help you get followers as well that are interested in the topic you put out there. You can search online for trending hashtags through sites such as Hashtagify or RiteTag that can help you to find things that are trending and moving forward that you can tag onto your messages in order to move up the ranks. (Remember what I said to you earlier in this post though about making sure it is not tied to something crazy o off your brand message).
If you are all over Pinterest, stay away from being general. Use #hashtags for your specific business and your writings. Be unique and memorable.
While Facebook also uses #hashtags as a means to help collect data and relevant content as well. On Facebook, any more than 2 hashtags will slow your engagement as found by Social Bakers:
- Posts with 1 or 2 hashtags averaged 593 interactions
- Posts with 3 to 5 hashtags averaged 416 interactions
- Posts with 6 to 10 hashtags averaged 307 interactions
- Posts with more than 10 hashtags averaged 188 interactions
So going from 2 to 3 hashtags caused a significant drop.
This is one of the sites where you want to stay away from super generic hashtags. All that is going to do is bring up posts that may have that word in the post. If you are very specific and unique, like say #premiereperformanceplus or #businessboldly it is more likely to bring up blogs and content from that particular provider. This assists you to make it a better search engine.
Create a Community and Branded Hashtags
Branded hashtags is a way to make your content all come together for customers to find it in one place and allow you to create a following and a trend.
Community hashtags allow for others to engage easier and connect people with similar interests and ideas. So that they can run with you and the ideas and create a collective. You can even find a community that relates well to your product and not have to stretch far to find new customers.
Keep it Simple
Hashtags should be fun and relevant so that they are easy to use, remember and spread. That will allow you to build and grow and get User Generated Content from things such as promotions and campaigns.