#winning, #brunch, #goals. The ever so popular hashtag seems to have made its way into daily use of the English language. If you were born before the 21st century, you probably grew up calling it pound and using it to navigate your way through a menu-option operated phone call. Or maybe the hashtag allowed you to enjoy a few games of tic-tac-toe in your childhood years. In the last few years, however, the hashtag has taken on a whole new role in our world.
What is a Hashtag?
Hashtags are used to help social media users easily find content they are interested in and can be a very useful marketing tool for social campaigns. Simply type the hashtag, and follow it with a word, phrase or group name, with no spaces or special characters. For example, #JanMarAgency. Capitalization is completely optional and will only help readers decode your hashtag more easily.
According to wix.com/blog, the first ever widespread use of a hashtag occurred back in 2007 when social media users on Twitter utilized #sandiegofire to keep people in the loop with updates and evacuations for victims of the San Diego Witch Creek Fire. The use of this hashtag allowed San Diego residents to easily find any and all information concerning the fire, allowing them to stay safe and informed.
Since its inception over a decade ago, the hashtag is now used to share information, help content stand out, and grow an audience.
Why Should I use Hashtags?
As we mentioned above, using hashtags can help your audience find content and information more easily. Social media users do not have to be currently following your page in order to see the hashtags you’re using. All they have to do is follow the tagged word or phrase that you’re posting.
For example, if a person follows #SingleMomsWithGardens, but said person doesn’t follow your page, if you are using the same #SingleMomsWithGardens in your posts, they will see your posts with this hashtag in the caption and be more likely to visit your page and start following you or engaging with your content. Not only will this expand your following, this can also help you discover the niche community you’ve been trying to reach.
How to use Hashtags
Not all hashtags are treated equally. Most of the more popular social media sites do support the use of hashtags, but have a slight variance in translation depending on which site you’re posting to.
This is the place where it all started for hashtags. It may seem like you would want to use quite a few hashtags since this is where its use originated. However, it’s important to keep in mind that Twitter has a strict word count rule. We recommend limiting the number of hashtags to only one or two. For a clean look, try sprinkling them in your post itself, rather than adding them at the bottom. For example, “We are excited to announce a #newproduct to our #skincare line, Island Organic Face Cream!”
Although we suggest avoiding the overuse of hashtags, the amount used on Instagram can be significantly more than used on Twitter. Wix.com suggests using 9-15 hashtags, with 11 being the optimal number. Since Instagram is an image-driven platform, the placement of hashtags in your post holds significance. The majority of users write their caption in plain text, add a decent amount of space underneath the caption, and then list their hashtags at the bottom of the post.
Facebook and LinkedIn
Both of these sites support the use of hashtags, but their use is not very significant. We suggest foregoing the use of hashtags in both of these platforms. However, if you do decide to use hashtags on these networks, limit it to one or two.
How do I decide which Hashtags to use?
Now that you know what hashtags are, how to use them, and why they’re important, let’s discuss which hashtags are best for your brand. In order to decide which hashtags will benefit your business the most, we suggest following accounts and organizations that are similar to your business. Depending on your industry, you can likely find a few influencers who are speaking to an audience in your field. Spend some time looking at their account and see what type of content they’re posting and which hashtags they’re utilizing.
Identifying and following some of your competitors can also be very useful in figuring out which hashtags to use. Just as we suggested for influencers, do the same with your competition. Check out their page and see what their most popular posts are, and which hashtags they used in those popular posts.
In addition to mimicking popular industry hashtags, it is also important to utilize hashtags that are specific to your brand. This can include the name of your business, products, services, or the markets in which you serve.
Hashtags are free, easy to use, and can have huge impacts on your business if you do it right. We hope the knowledge we shared in this article empowers you and inspires you to revitalize your social media campaign.
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