When it comes to creating and sharing social media content for your business, incorporating hashtags is an excellent way to increase views, likes, and shares. When used properly, hashtags make it easier for others who are interested in your content to find you, hence increasing your influence, and following.
You have probably seen many hashtags by now. They first became popular on Twitter but have since spread to other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. In June 2014, the word “hashtag” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary and defined as “a word or phrase with the symbol # in front of it, used on social media websites and apps so that you can search for all messages with the same subject” (Source: Wikipedia).
Are you ready to incorporate hashtags into your social media plan? Here are four pointers to keep in mind.
#1. How to make a hashtag
Creating a hashtag for your content is as simple as adding the octothorp symbol (#) in front of the word or words you wish you stand out, such as #Hashtag. To hashtag a phrase, you’ll spell it out completely, without spaces, symbols, or punctuation. You can also use numbers. #MakingaHashtag is an example of a phrase hashtag. The hashtag(s) can be added to the beginning, middle, or end of your social media post or comment.
#2. Designing a hashtag strategy
It may seem easy enough to turn any word or phrase into a hashtag. However, you’ll want to utilize relevant hashtags as much as possible. This is important since the more specific you can be, the more likely you are to reach your preferred audience. Since adding the # symbol automatically makes a word or phrase clickable, you’ll want to carefully choose the ones you use.
Consider the following for your hashtag strategy:
- Avoid going overboard with your hashtags. The number of hashtags that can be used is determined by the platform (we’ll get into more details about that below). However, in most cases, one to three hashtags can have a greater impact than having too many of them.
- Instead of trying to fit a lot of words into one tag, keep your hashtags short and memorable.
- Rather than making up hashtags that are obscure or cryptic, stick with more popular choices. If you choose a tag that no one will search for, it will not benefit your marketing because it will not be found!
- Focus on using hashtags within your posts when they bring value to your audience and are more likely to spark dialogue and interaction. In other words, you don’t have to pack them into every post.
#3. Finding the right hashtags to get the results you want
Now that you’re ready to start using hashtags, the next step is determining the ones that are best for you and your brand. The key is to find hashtags that complement your content and appealing to your followers. You’ll always want to research a hashtag to get the best, most effective outcomes.
There are various websites that can help you in selecting hashtags for your brand. Here are four sites we like to use:
- Hashtagify (https://hashtagify.me)
- All Hashtag (https://www.all-hashtag.com/)
- Best Hashtags (http://best-hashtags.com/)
- BrandMentions (https://brandmentions.com/hashtag-tracker/)
Once you’ve identified the hashtags you want to use, it’s a good idea to scan the social media platforms where you intend to use them to see what comes up when you search for them. Doing this will help you easily identify whether they are popular, as well as if they are appropriate for your brand.
#4. Learn how hashtags work across social media platforms
As we mentioned earlier, the main purpose of using hashtags on social media is to let your followers know that your content falls into a specific topic or category. As such, you will also want to learn how to use hashtags on different platforms.
Twitter is fast and furious. Without hashtags, your content will easily become lost in a flood of tweets. According to HubSpot, Tweets from businesses that include hashtags are 33% more likely to get retweeted than tweets without hashtags. (https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/twitter-statistics). However, if you use too many hashtags in a post your message will lose its value. Although you can use as many hashtags in a tweet as you like, Twitter recommends using no more than two per Tweet. (https://help.twitter.com/en/using-twitter/how-to-use-hashtags)
When it comes to gaining greater visibility for your Facebook posts, hashtags can help increase organic reach. Simply type a keyword into the search bar to get hashtags that are relevant to you. It’s usually best to limit yourself to one or two hashtags per post, though. More beyond that can make you appear unprofessional and may even annoy the people who read your posts.
Hashtag use on LinkedIn is still fairly new, but they work on this platform in the same way as on any other network. Using hashtags on LinkedIn can help you reach people who are outside of your network, increasing engagement and trustworthiness. One to three hashtags are suggested for posts on LinkedIn.
On Instagram, hashtags can help you reach a wider audience and enhance engagement. So, to reach the largest audience possible, feel free to use up to ten or eleven relevant and popular hashtags per post. You can actually use up to 30 hashtags per post, giving you plenty of options. Use the search box to find out which hashtags influencers and your competitors are using to engage with their followers on Instagram. Because this is the ideal platform for multiple hashtags, try experimenting with a variety of them to use in your own posts and comments.
Over to you
Hashtags are an excellent way to communicate with your followers, increase engagement, and potentially attract new customers through social media. When it comes to which hashtags to use or how to use them, there are no hard and fast rules, but the guide provided above will help point you in the right direction.
Written by: Jennifer Hanford, MYOB Blogger