Anyone who uses social media has seen the ‘hashtag’ (#). It is predominately used for social awareness, business promotion, categorising content, product advertisement and as a motif for certain users.
You’ll mostly see it used on platforms like Twitter (since as early as 2007!) Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. Facebook was actually the first platform to launch this social media staple, however they remain less popular there than on sites like Instagram and Twitter which have incorporated them since the sites’ inception. The word ‘hashtag’ has even been added to the dictionary.
So, it’s no secret that a good understanding of this feature is vital for the online presence of any business.
Wondering how your business can leverage hashtags across social media? Keep reading to find out our top tips and tricks.
The humble # has come a long way from a simple number sign.
Hashtag formatting is important to ensure your social media feed doesn’t look messy. We always recommend capitalisation in hashtags.
For example, consider using #FlashbackFriday rather than #flashbackfriday.
Use relevant hashtags
Whether it’s a company name or the product/service you’re selling, hashtags can help increase your reach when they’re relevant.
For example, if we post an article on our top marketing tips, we will use #TheMarketingGP, #Marketing #MarketingTips and other similar tags.
We do this because we want like-minded people to find our content! This way people can find your business if they are following or looking up those particular hashtags. Sprout Social says another reason this can be beneficial is its ability to create a conversation about a specific product or brand.
Pick one or two brand hashtags
These branded hashtags should be relevant to everything you do! For example, a plumbing company in Newcastle might use #Plumbing #PlumberNewcastle. This shouldn’t just be in the captions of social media posts – it should appear everywhere; the bio/about section of your social media accounts, email signatures, business cards, texts and throughout your website.
Follow some hashtags yourself
If you’re an accountant, you may use Instagram to follow #AccountingNews, #FinanceAustralia etc. to keep up to date.
Hootsuite advises to “browse through posts containing a hashtag you’re already having success with.”
This could lead to more popular hashtags, or you may even find something you want to write about or a subject you want to interview. Following hashtags that your target market is likely to engage with can also help. By putting yourself in the shoes of your ideal client/customer, you can find out what they’re interested in. It pays to be in the know!
Use hashtags as a way to tag others
If you post a photo on Instagram that indicates a recent collaboration with another business, you can tag that business with their username AND hashtag their name/brand. If we did a piece with a business called Jan’s Florist, we could use the tags #JansFlorist and #Florist. This doubles your chance of exposure and gives users another way of finding you.
Know where to research
You can trial different hashtags on different platforms and gauge which works, and which doesn’t. The more you know the more different trials you can do, increasing your chance of success.
Or better yet, work with a team that has their finger on the pulse when it comes to social media updates and all things hashtags.
Get in touch with us today to find out how we can #MakeYourMarketingEasier.
Know what works for each platform
While it can be different for each platform, we recommend using three to five hashtags across socials to get the best results. At the end of the day, you don’t want to overdo it, less is more!
Researching and finding out how each platform responds to hashtags is a good start
Monitor the effectiveness of your hashtags
Most social media platforms have some sort of analytics for businesses to watch their progress – even things as small as video views, likes and retweets give you some indication of the success of your post.
If you usually don’t use hashtags, try it! We bet you will see much greater exposure.
Need a strategic plan behind your social media presence?
Our social media management experts cover all aspects fo you – from the imagery down to the hashtags.
DON’T forget spacing
In order for your hashtags to actually tag, you need a space between each one. Too often we see #Weekend#Fun#Family and unfortunately, this means that not all the tags will be recognised by the platform.
But on the other hand, make sure there are no spaces in a hashtag that IS supposed to contain more than one word – for example, #NewcastleTravel won’t work if you put a space between the two words.
DON’T waste hashtags
If you only want to incorporate a certain number of hashtags in each post, you need to make sure you’re not wasting them unnecessarily.
Social media is quite advanced these days and there are tools to give specifics about your posts, so your hashtags should focus on specifics.
For example, if you’re struggling to fit in the number of hashtags in your caption, instead of using #SydneyAustralia in your caption, try tagging the post itself as Sydney. That way, you have room to use a tag that’s less generic and more relevant or on-brand.
DON’T underestimate the importance of timing
If you’re posting about an event you’re attending, push the post either during the event or soon before/after. If it’s a safety conference, you could tag #SafetyConference or hashtag the name of the event.
Posting this content around the same time as the event is important as you’re likely to gain more exposure because this is the time most people are looking/thinking about it (provided the event has been well promoted).
Timing also comes into play with almost all types of content. For example, you may be posting about your service/product, but if nobody is on social media at the time it’s unlikely, they’ll see it.
Rather than posting at midnight (when your audience is asleep) or midday (when your audience is at work), send out your content when they’ll be online.
Early in the morning or towards the evening is normally quite effective – but keep in mind this all depends on who your target is.
DON’T use punctuation or wrong special characters in hashtags
Avoid using anything outside of the basic characters, letters and numbers in your hashtags. Similar to the spacing issue, your hashtag won’t appear properly if you use any of the unrecognisable characters.
For example, you’d need to say #RestAndRelaxation instead of #Rest_Relexation or #Rest&Relaxation
DON’T overdo it
We don’t want your post to drone on forever with a bunch of hashtags that aren’t relevant or worth reading.
Use a few relevant tags, maybe a few very popular ones, as well as some that are unique to you and your business.
The same blog from Hootsuite also says between one and two hashtags work best for LinkedIn. The same goes for Twitter – Buffer Social has found that engagement drops by 17 per cent when users include more than two hashtags in a single tweet.
DON’T hashtag for the sake of it
Use meaningful and relevant tags, don’t just slot them in to fill the blank space. In the same regard, don’t use complicated or long hashtags just to fill space, as these can be confusing and are easy to misspell.
This covers most of your basics, but there are a variety of ways to use your hashtags. The trick is finding the best way for you and your business. The most important thing to remember with hashtags is to stay relevant and up to date.