Tagged: How to Use Hashtags
How to Use Hashtags Like a Pro, Part 1: The Basics
- by Alyson Shane
Do you know how to use hashtags in your social media marketing?
Since they were introduced on Twitter in 2007, hashtags (also known as the “pound symbol” or “hash mark” aka # ) have become one of the most effective ways for brands to start, track, and participate in discussions.
If you’re looking for the definitive guide on using these essential marketing tools, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s dive right in:
What are hashtags?
Hashtags are a word, or group of words, preceded by a pound (#) sign that are used on social media to categorize and find conversations around a particular topic.
These symbol/word groupings create clickable links to posts using the same hashtag. For example, if you search for #SocialMediaMarkteing on Twitter, you’ll discover thousands of posts using the hashtag that you can reply to and interact with.
While hashtags originally started on Twitter, nowadays they’re used on every major social network.
Why use hashtags?
Hashtags help brands get discovered online, and help them be a part of broader conversations around topics relevant to their industry.
Hashtags are also a great way to follow breaking news or tune into upcoming trends.
How to find the best hashtags
There are a few ways to start discovering the hottest hashtags, including:
Hands-down one of the easiest ways to do your research. Here are some of our fav tools for the job:
Influencers in your industry
Think about it: if these hashtags work for the most successful brands and personalities in your industry, the chances are that they’ll work for you, too.
Check trending hashtags
Looking up popular hashtags in Twitter is easy: use the trending hashtags section!
If you find a hashtag relevant to your industry, jump on the trend to increase awareness about your brand!
Important: don’t use irrelevant hashtags to get attention; your audience will notice and this may damage your brand reputation.
A branded hashtag is precisely what it sounds like: a hashtag that can “group” your content together and make it easy to find.
Best of all: you can make this one up all by yourself!
Types of branded hashtags to consider using include:
- Your business name
- Your business’ tagline, or mission statement
- Promotion or campaign name
How to use hashtags properly
Remember: hashtags are a single word. There should never be any spaces in-between the words in your hashtag. Punctuation in your hashtag phrase will break the tag:
#Let’sTalkHousing (incorrect) vs. #LetsTalkHousing (correct)
Another good rule of thumb is to limit how many hashtags you use. Don’t #add #hashtags #to #every #word. Use them sparingly and strategically.
Of course, because each social network is different, how we use hashtags in our content will vary, as well. Keep reading for a list of hashtag do’s and don’ts below:
Follow these best practices to make sure you’re always using hashtags correctly:
- Follow and use hashtags related to your industry or business.
- Check out the rules for hashtags on each social network. For example, Twitter focuses more on the topic, while Instagram hashtags are generally used to describe the post.
- Be specific. Choose relevant and niche hashtags overbroad, general ones.
- Don’t use a hashtag without researching it first. Is the hashtag being used? If so, is it being used in the context you want to use it?
- Don’t overdo it. Too many hashtags in a post looks desperate and spammy. Each social network has “best practices” around how many to use, but generally, you don’t want to use more hashtags than words in your post.
- Keep your hashtags short. Overly long hashtags are hard to read, and often not very popular.
Start using hashtags in your social media marketing
Using hashtags in your ongoing social media marketing is an easy (and free!) way to connect with your audience, and help more of your ideal customers find your brand.
Use the tips outlined in this post to start using hashtags as part of your ongoing digital marketing strategy, and stay tuned for part two in this series “How to Use Hashtags on Social Media” where we break down hashtag do’s and don’ts by platform!
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