Ahhhhh, hashtags… If you or your brand have been on social media at all in the past few years, then we can only assume you’ve been confronted with the use and misuse of hashtags. Plus, in recent years, it’s been almost impossible not to see multi-million-dollar campaigns with hashtags as their main focus on a daily basis. What exactly is a hashtag? A hashtag symbolizes a trending topic (such as #SuperBowlXLIX or #JeSuisCharlie) that makes itself visible on social media by placing a good old pound sign ‘#’ in front of the topic. By using a hashtag, a social media user can click on the link created by the hashtag and see additional articles, posts and images concerning the same subject.
Hashtags are incredibly popular for social media marketing use; however, they can be very overwhelming and confusing. This is why it is so important to use them properly – especially if you are a brand trying to obtain and maintain followers on multiple social media platforms. Take a look at our top three ways you can properly use hashtags in your social media marketing strategy.
1. Use Sparingly – Since hashtags symbolize trending topics, it’s important to remember that in a Facebook or Twitter post, you should not go “hashtag happy”; not every word is in itself a trending topic. Limit the amount of hashtags to an average of one to three per post, depending on the length and content. For example, let’s say if you are posting about a giveaway your brand is doing during a football game, your post could go something like this:
“Don’t forget! Submit a picture of your favorite game-day traditions and you could win tickets to the Wildcats’’ next home game. #GameDayGiveaway #GoWildCats”
2. Look to Other Trending Topics – Although implementing your own trending hashtag can be forward-thinking, sometimes picking up on an already trending hashtag can make you incredibly visible across multiple social media platforms. However, you have to make sure you complement the hashtag with rich and meaningful content that will stick out amongst the rest. For instance, if you are adding to the trending topic #GoldenGlobes, you’d want to add thoughtful and critical remarks about the films and television shows that were featured, and stay away from typical or convenient remarks like “We loved to watch [Insert Actor’s Name] win an award!” This would get lost in the messy clutter.
3. Ensure They Are Crystal-Clear – If you take away only one thing from this blog, let this be it! Making sure your hashtags are understandable is of the utmost importance. So many times we find ourselves re-reading hashtags to make sure we understood them correctly; this is because either there are too many words included in the hashtag, the letters are all in lower-case, or they are not used properly in the sentence or post. To ensure your hashtags are read properly, it is best to separate each word in the hashtag with a capital letter (for example, #BringBackOurGirls is much easier to follow than #bringbackourgirls). It is also important to keep the hashtag fairly brief when possible. For example: #LetsGoGreenBayPackers is way too long. #GoPackGo would do just fine! Remember, it’s incredibly important to re-read your hashtags before you post and make sure others can comprehend them before you deploy them on social media.
Of course, hashtags can work seamlessly in various areas of your brand’s marketing efforts. They incorporate and create trending topics in a slick, easy way that can link your brand to other brands and people focusing on similar issues and topics. If you use them properly, you will undoubtedly start to see a growth in your number of followers, shares, likes, pins, and re-tweets!