How to use Hashtags
There is a lot of confusion surrounding hashtags. They seemed to pop up out of no where and now have over run the social media space. Hashtags done properly can be immensely powerful marketing tools but when used carelessly can be extremely annoying and possibly detrimental to your online reputation. We could sit here and bore you with the history of the hashtag, and how they’ve evolved in the digital space over the years but we will leave that to PaultheTrombonist in his hilarious video History of the Hashtag # while we enlighten you on how to apply hashtags in each of your social channels like a Pro.
What the #eck is the purpose of a hashtag?
Love them or hate them, hashtags are here to stay. There are many examples out there of hashtags done well (and probably even more of hashtags gone bad) but overall they serve three main purposes:
- To filter and categorize information
- To connect with people and unite messages
- To add to a brand
Here at Cloud9 Marketing, we represent a lot of businesses in the tourism industry here in beautiful Whistler, B.C. We obviously want people across social media platforms who are interested in travelling and visiting places like Whistler to view our posts. Because of this, we always ensure to append #Whistler to our posts. Other common hashtags we use are #ski #snowboard #adventure (you get it). By doing this people interested in these topics can simply click on one of the above hashtags and all of our beautiful and engaging photos and posts will appear. If you went on Twitter or Instagram right now and typed in a hashtag that interested you (like #winewednesday for example), you will see thousands of posts all displaying the hashtag and theme.
If you run a business and want to connect with potential fans and followers, hashtags are an excellent way to do so. Say you have an online dog treat business and want to get more people following you on social media and ultimately order dog treats on your website. Conducting initial research on popular hashtags used in your industry on sites such as Tagboard will give you a good idea which tags will be popular with your target market. By consistently appending these hashtags to your posts you will get more likes, comments, shares and retweets simply by people interested in and following those hashtags.
Hashtags are also great tools for branding. If you have a promotion you are running or want to communicate your slogan or brand strengths in your posts, appending them as hashtags is a great way to communicate the message to your fans and followers. Take Coca Cola for example, their recent Share a Coke campaign has penetrated the social realm and the hashtag #ShareACoke has been appended to all of their relevant posts. The more your social community notices branded hashtags the more likely they are to engage with them.
Are they for all social channels?
Hashtags were born on Twitter, and are still important additions to any post on this channel although generally only one or two can be included due to the character limitations. Instagram is also the perfect platform for hashtags and relevant and trending hashtags are sure to increase engagement of your posts. Instagram has a maximum of 30 hashtags per post but it’s recommended to insert 5-10 relevant, trending and catchy tags. Unlike Twitter and Instagram, where hashtags unite the entire community of users, Facebook hashtags generally only unite current friends and followers, or large brands who don’t have their setting set to private. For that reason, individuals don’t use hashtags as much on Facebook as brands do however if you’re going to use them, it is suggested to keep them minimal, 1-2 shows the most engagement.
Hopefully now we’ve demystified the hashtag and you are ready to put them to use in your own social media strategy. Still confused or need help with your online marketing- we are here to help! Contact Cloud9 Marketing today and find out how we can assist you.