Have you jumped into the pool of using creative and innovative hashtags to drive engagement on your posts? Perhaps you came up with a couple of branded hashtags. Or you use a few of the most popular hashtags and now can call it a day.
Unfortunately, it's not really that easy.
Hashtags aren't really necessarily "trendy", although they can be. Instead, they're actually a legitimate way to communicate directly with a specific audience in a specific niche. And believe me, they're so incredibly useful when it comes to helping your customers find your products and services.
Maybe you're sitting at the office right now, or scrolling on your phone in your living room, or a waiting room. OR maybe in the middle of a boring conference call, (you know, the ones that easily could have been an email😉) and maybe you're wondering why it's necessary to write an entire post about hashtags.
The truth is, we want to help empower your business on social, And because hashtags are kind of a big deal, they deserve their own post.
Whether you have t0 experience with hashtags or you're already very familiar with the practice, this post can do you a lot of good as we dig into the why's, how's and when's of hashtags. Are you ready to get started?
Let's dig in.
So....What Actually Are Hashtags?
Once upon a time, "hashtags" were just pound signs and then social media blew them up into incredibly useful tools.
They consist of the pound sign, followed by keywords or word pairs, #kindoflikethis or #somethingpopularlikethis. See? #relatable
The very first hashtag was used on Twitter, and this is probably because Twitter is where the innovation began and is one of the platforms that is still the most prominent when it comes to the use of hashtags.
Hashtags Cannot (and Shouldn't be) Avoided
It's as simple and easy as that. If you want to market your brand on social media, hashtags are a must. And this is because in terms of getting in front of the right audience and becoming known in the right places, hashtags can prove to be extremely popular and powerful.
How Do They Work?
Hashtags are used on social media to group similar topics, posts and brands together. A good example would be that if you were to use the hashtag #workoutapparel or #exerciseapparel, your posts would show up clustered with similar posts in the search for exercise apparel.
Hashtags have a use OUTSIDE of the immediate marketing sphere too, though. For instance: by creating specific branded hashtags, you can group certain posts together for monitoring and better organize your efforts by topic, campaign or purpose.
Creating specific branded hashtags can be helpful for brand recognition and getting your name out there, too. Hint: do some research into the #givesyouwings REDBULL campaign. You'll be blown away. And now, when users click on that hashtag all there is as far as the eye can see is REDBULL promotion and pictures.
It's brilliant, right?
With thousands upon thousands of images posted on social media every single day, it's not very likely that anyone but your followers are going to see your post.
It's unfortunate, but it's just true.
Hashtags allow you to (with no cost!) get your creative images, videos, graphics, whatever, out into a world where people are specifically searching what YOU have to offer and what YOU are sharing.
How to Utilize Hashtags in Your Social Strategy
There's quite a few things you can do to utilize hashtags in your social media strategy. Among these things would include boosting your outreach, joining certain conversations on social media, social listening and product development opportunities and driving engagement on social.
When it comes to boosting your outreach, there are actually TWO ways hashtags are beneficial. One is that on sites like Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram, your bio shows up in hashtag search results. And two, hashtags are very similar to hyperlinks of sorts, as they take users to another page that's similar to a homepage or news feed for that specific hashtag after they click on them. This can be extremely powerful, both for online and offline businesses. Why? Because it's possible for you to get lots (and lots) and lots of free exposure thanks to a hashtag someone put on their post. (Thanks, guys!)
By checking out trending hashtags, you can join relevant conversations and get your name out there. The same goes for conversations around your brand and niche that others are having. Paying attention pays off in both unexpected and expected ways.
Event engagement can also be driven through hashtags by encouraging your attendees to connect with you, tag you and use your hashtag on their own channels.
"How Do I Create Hashtags?"
Ahh, here's what all of you really wanted to know isn't it?
Making hashtags is easy. But making good hashtags is an entirely different ballgame and I can explain why.
If your hashtag is too clever, people won't search for it. Too long and it won't take off. There's also wasted space hashtags, like saying #sunny on a post about having a picnic, or better yet putting a hashtag for #mouthwash on a post about your dental practice.
Now, because getting the hang of this hashtag thing can be difficult, we're going to give you a head start with a sort of cheat sheet. Check it out below:
- Clarify your message by Capitalizing The First Letter Of Every Word.
- Keep it simple. Complicated hashtags don't get found.
- Short and sweet are the hashtags that take off. Why? Because they're easy to share, create and explore.
- Keep it relevant, because relevancy is what matters and what is most successful.
And hopefully this cheat sheet is helpful in jump starting your hashtag adventures. (They can be tons of fun.)
The Hashtag Rules of Thumb
Because though it seems like adding hashtags to your posts is easy, it's not always as straight forward as it seems. Here's your next wildly helpful cheat sheet: the hashtag rules of thumb.
- Don't go overboard. Stick to relevant hashtags and stay away from #every #single #word #becoming #a #hashtag. When we post about our client work, we're most likely to use ten-fifteen highly relevant and engaging hashtags, like #socialmediaagency #socialmediamarketing etc.
- It's not necessary to hashtag every post.
- Use trending hashtags when it's relevant and makes sense.
- Watch your competitors. They're probably using hashtags that you might find useful. Take advantage of their knowledge!
Hashtags are powerful tools when used correctly. Have you had success using trending hashtags or running your own branded hashtag campaign? What have you found to be the most difficult part of utilizing hashtags for your social media channels? We want to hear your feedback!