What are hashtags and how should they be used?
Hashtags are incredibly important on social media posts because they are tags or labels applied to keywords that make it easier to find specific content. Hashtags are used on social media platforms, in media and often times in casual conversation with friends. They have transcended the boundaries of the virtual world which speaks volumes to their influence.
Back in 2007, Twitter began using the # symbol in front of words or phrases to connect groups. Present day when you click on a hyperlinked hashtag, it will take you to a different page that shows all other content from yourself or others that have used the same hashtags.
When using a hashtag for your business accounts, you’re opening the door to a broader audience. If you use the hashtag #foodie on a picture of one of your food creations, you’re then sharing your creation with a group of other individuals who have used the same hashtag and may want to see other food related posts, get an idea for a dinner recipe, or want to discover a new restaurant for their next meal.
The challenge lies in how to successfully and effectively use hashtags.
Here are 3 tips on how to use hashtags on social media:
1. Use relevant keywords
When posting a picture or writing a post create hashtags based on the relevant key words for the post. The hashtag can be included in the description of the picture/ content or the status itself or they can be added at the end.
“Just tried a chocolate #bacon #maple #cupcake and while it sounds like it would be weird combo, it was actually amazing!”
#cupcakelover #bakedgoods #chocolate #cocoa #baconmaplecupcake
2. Don’t use too many hashtags
When using hashtags, err on the side of caution and stick to using 5-8 at most. There are of course photos or content that can use 20 hashtags and be justified but in most cases that isn’t necessary and some may view it as distracting or annoying.
Remember no one likes seeing 15 irrelevant hashtags per content item.
For example: if you post a picture of a bacon maple cupcake on the Tuesday after Super Bowl 51 there is no need to add irrelevant hashtags like #SuperBowl #LadyGaga or #SB51. Realistically, there is likely no relation between your cupcake and those hashtags.
Too many hashtags can hurt your engagement and can get you blocked by your ideal audience. According to Buffer Social, “In fact, when you use more than two hashtags, your engagement actually drops by an average of 17 percent.”
3. Use Hashtags to Brand Your Business
Most importantly remember to use hashtags to brand your business. Creating a business related hashtag to brand your business can be a powerful and cost effective marketing technique. If your audience begins using your custom hashtag in relation to your business, then you’re off to a great start for your business to get more exposure via the Internet or to potentially go viral if massive amounts of people use the hashtag at once.
When used correctly hashtags create a way to categorize your content and make it searchable to an audience that may not follow your business. Hashtags are an extremely low cost and effective way to market and brand your business’s content IF you create custom and relevant hashtags.