July 29, 2018
If you’re like many people out there in the digital world, you love to throw a handful of hashtags at the end of each post, message or tweet. It’s likely true that most of you are doing it because you see others doing it, or have heard it’s the right thing to do, but do you really know why?
Formerly known as the pound sign on your telephone, the hashtag has become one of the most prominent symbols of life online, even securing an entry in the Oxford Dictionary. Hashtags help you organize and categorize content, help you find relevant content and they can help make your terms searchable by the general public or your target market.
The problem is, most people don’t use hashtags to their best advantage. Adding hashtags to business posts or even personal ones that are obscure and no one would ever search won’t get the results you want.
Using hashtags correctly gives you an opportunity to tune into a targeted group or market that has passionate feelings about the subject matter. Every good marketer knows that the more targeted you can make your campaigns, the higher the conversions, sales, sign-ups, follows, likes, engagement, etc.
As an example, if you have a business that sells dog-related supplies, instead of using the hashtag #petsupplies, get specific and choose #dogcollars or whichever product you want to draw attention to. Another one for that example may be using #dogparents instead of #petowners to attract your target market.
Just like anything, there are some best practices to consider when using hashtags. Here are a few you need to keep in mind:
No spaces or punctuation – they will end the hashtag in the exact spot you used them.
Don’t use more than 2 different hashtags per tweet / post – it’s not against the rules, but can come off as spammy
Don’t hashtag a brand if you are trying to get their attention – use @ instead
Use capitals for more clarity – Which is easier to read? #canyoureadthishashtag or #CanYouReadThisHashtag
Content tagging and discovery are the main reasons hashtags are used regardless of the platform, but you can still squeeze out some extra mojo by varying your hashtags for different social networks. As an example, Instagram is all about the visuals, so you may want your hashtags to be more descriptive, rather than focused on the topic or specific group, which is the case with Twitter.
Many platforms have guidelines you can use, or you can do some work ahead of time and research what kinds of hashtags are getting the most action. It’s a lot easier to just throw in a bunch of phrases or terms that make lots of sense in your mind, but if you want maximum engagement you should probably do your due diligence first.
Try to think of yourself as a mini search engine when creating hashtags and opt for relevance and simplicity. Consider the outcome you want to have, what needs to happen for that outcome to become reality, and then craft your hashtags accordingly. Just like any other element of marketing, work backwards and discover who you need to target to get the desired result.
Now, wouldn’t it be a big pain in the ass to follow all these guidelines, only to have a spelling mistake and mess the whole thing up? Imagine planning your post or tweet, considering your target market, coming up with a hashtag just primed for maximum engagement, then you spell it wring and nothing happens. There is no “did you mean…?” feature when it comes to hashtags, so read it twice, or maybe even three times.
Once you become a little more aware of what those hashtags actually mean and how to get the most out of them, you’ll be well on your way to hashtag glory. We don’t really offer a hashtag service, hmmmm…..but we can provide you with killer blogs, websites, whitepapers, ebooks and just about any other kind of service you need. Get in touch today for a FREE consultation!
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