The humble hashtag has been a staple of social media since Twitter first made its appearance online, but a lot of people don’t really know what to do with them. We look at when (and when not) to use them and how you can make hashtags work harder for you.
Hashtags were created to help platforms like Twitter group related posts together and help users to engage in conversation around the topics the hashtags represented. So, if you’re talking about #Euros2020, you can use the hashtag and then explore other posts that contain that hashtag.
Some networks use hashtags better than others. While hashtags are an option on Facebook, they’re not widely used, so should be avoided. Hashtags work best on sites like Twitter, Instagram and TikTok, where people expect to browse content from a range of creators, rather than keeping up with their friends and family. For B2B businesses, LinkedIn allows you to associate your page with specific hashtags, meaning you can jump in on the conversation easily and get your page featured in search results for those hashtags.
When it comes to setting up or picking a hashtag, there are a few basic rules to follow.
If you’re planning on creating one for a campaign to help tie all your posts together and encourage conversation, it’s got to be short and snappy – the quicker you can type it, the better. For example, BioWare recently released an updated version of its popular Mass Effect trilogy, but the hashtag around it was #MassEffectLegendaryEdition – bit much, right? Instead, they’d have been better off with #MassEffectLE.
When you’re choosing a hashtag to use with your post to increase visibility, you need to make sure you’re using a hashtag that’s actually used by other people. A quick search on Twitter and Instagram will tell you how many posts are using that hashtag, or if it’s popular. On the other hand, picking a hashtag that’s got millions of posts associated with it might not be that helpful either – finding the sweet spot of a popular hashtag that isn’t overused can result in a higher rate of interaction.
Hashtags should also be used sparingly. If #every #other #word is a #hashtag, your post isn’t going to engage anyone. Instagram recommends around 7–10 hashtags a post, and on Twitter, one or two is usually more than sufficient, depending on what you’re talking about. After all, if your post doesn’t need a hashtag, then don’t use one!
Trending topics can be a great way of getting your content in front of new people. However, relevancy is the key here – if your post doesn’t actually relate to that hashtag, there’s no point in using it. So, if you’re an IT firm and the latest Apple product is trending, talk about how you can help companies who might purchase them! But, if you’re an accountancy firm, the likelihood is you don’t have much to add to the conversation.
Don’t know your hashtags from your usernames? Struggling to come up with content? We can help. Our social media experts can help you develop the right content strategy and get your pages working harder. View our services page to find out more.
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