How to Leverage the Power of Hashtags

hashtags Apr 01, 2021

Ok, so first... What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is a keyword or phrase preceded by the hash symbol (#), written within a post or comment to highlight it and facilitate a search for it.

What’s so powerful about hashtags is, when you include hash marks in your post; it can then be indexed by the social network so that it can be discoverable to everyone, even if they’re not your followers or fans.

For example, if your company promoted extreme sports, you could add the #bucketlist to your Instagram posts and those people with a passion for adventure and fun who do not follow you, or know anything about you, would see your post.

There are three influential groupings of hashtags you should use on social media

Content hashtags:

Firstly, using hashtags that are directly related to your product, service, market, or area of expertise are known as “content hashtags” because they relate to the content that your content would be naturally associated with.

As you can imagine, they will greatly expose your brand to potential customers on those social media platforms who weren’t previously familiar with it.

Trending hashtags:

Another great way to boost your brand’s visibility is to use existing hashtags that have grown popular among millions of users, also known as ‘trending hashtags’.

Before you add the ‘#’ symbol to a trending topic, be sure to first ask yourself whether your social media posts are adding value to the existing conversation.

Value can be interpreted in many ways: a unique piece of information, an original look or opinion at what’s is going on, or simply a funny statement or image.

If your post does not add any value, it is highly likely to be ignored and lost in the plethora of posts. If, however, your post is informative, funny, or viral, it will get re-shared by fellow users ultimately increasing awareness of your brand.

Generally, trending hashtags are fun and can range from holidays to random spur-of-the-moment games.

Brand-specific hashtags:

Sometimes, the problem with using generic or popular hashtags is that your posts might be lost in the noise of hundreds of messages using the same hashtags. So, in order to separate yourself from the herd and stand out, it’s highly recommended you create your own dedicated ‘brand-specific hashtags’.

These can be used for general branding, promotions, events, contests, or other marketing campaigns. The key to creating an effective brand-specific hashtag is to ensure that there is no one else using the same hashtag.

Yours should be unique and memorable.

For general branding, use a short motto or tagline. When creating marketing campaign-specific hashtags, make sure to give users a compelling incentive to use them.

For example, you could get users to post with a campaign-specific hashtag to stand a chance to get discounts or win prizes. In return, your brand stands to benefit from major viral marketing publicity.

How to use hashtags in an effective manner:

To create a hashtag, all you need to do is include a ‘#’ and a relevant keyword or phrase. This, you already knew.

What you may not know is that not all hashtags are born equal.

In fact, they are only powerful when handpicked and used wisely. Here are two crucial general tips that apply to all social media and businesses:

Keep it short:

To save everyone the headache, don’t squish too many words into one hashtag. Nothing turns people off more than overly lengthy hashtags such as this...

#YouDontWantToTryThisAtHome.

Don’t overuse:

Another thing you want to avoid is writing your entire caption with one hashtag per word. #Because #its #not #really #fun #to #read #like #this #is #it?

The number of hashtags you can allow per post depends on each channel. But as a general rule of thumb, only put a hashtag next to a word that is really significant.

Think strategically:

This applies to the content hashtags.

It’s highly recommended that you mix content hashtags with a high volume, with other hashtags that are more specific.

For example, let’s say you have a restaurant and you want to post a picture of your latest gnocchi dish on Instagram. #Food is an obvious choice, but with over 258 million posts using it, you will want to stand out.

Try and find more ‘niche’ hashtags, doing a little research will go a long way. Hashtagify is a good place to start. And of course, nothing will beat the good old trial and error: experiment, learn and have fun as you go!

Here are the best hashtag practices for each social media.

Twitter:

How many hashtags per post?

Research shows that the optimal number of hashtags is two. Over that, the tweets have a significant drop in engagement.

How to find the best hashtags around:

It’s important to make sure people are engaging with the hashtags you use. A great place to start is Hashtagify.

It allows you to check the popularity and recent popularity while discovering if your hashtag is relevant.

Where to place them?

While you are more limited on Twitter with the amount of #’s you are less confined as to where they should go. It can be used at the end of a Tweet or incorporated as part of the sentence.

Instagram

How many hashtags per post?

The more hashtags you use, the more engagement you see – up until a certain point. After about 10 hashtags, you risk losing out on some of that engagement.

How to find the best hashtags around?

Head over to the search box and check what your audience, competitors, and industry leaders are already using. Pay attention to the number of posts, and how many likes the first images received.

Where to place them?

In order to keep everything organized and neat, it’s best to put your hashtags at the end of your caption preferably separated by either dots or asterisks. If you’re a neat freak, you can also add your hashtags in a comment to your post.

Facebook

Believe it or not, hashtags are not important on Facebook. We recommend limiting the number of hashtags to a minimum.

Indeed, concise captions tend to perform better on this platform. Of course, using your ‘brand-specific hashtags’ won’t hurt.

LinkedIn and G+

Same as for Facebook, hashtags can be added, but they don’t really have an effect on your post.

Pinterest

How many hashtags per post?

Pinterest themselves recommends you add no more than 20 hashtags per Pin.

Where to place them?

Hashtags only work within the Pins’ descriptions.

Now that you have a hashtag checklist... there’s nothing more to do but to go and make a hashtag splash with your social media posts.

 

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