Hashtag Effectively

Someone recently asked me what is the purpose of using hashtags?   Worry NO more friends, I will explain how to hashtag with a purpose and soon you’ll be using them like a pro.  A hashtag is a word or a phrase (without spaces) preceded by the # symbol. For example, #juicing — that helps people find and join conversations about a particular topic.  Clicking on it will show related content. A lot of words have been added to the dictionary over the past few decades thanks to social media, but few have become so widely used and accepted as “hashtag.”

They  got their start in Twitter as a way of making it easier for people to find, follow, and contribute to a conversation. Archeologists have unearthed this early tweet, and believe it to be the first time the hashtag was used for this purpose. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest and Tumblr are the platforms that currently support them.

Why use #Hashtags?

There are a number of reasons why you want to use #hashtags in social media.

One reason is to help you get found by your target audience.  Many people research  specific hashtags.  You can increase the chances of being found when you do your research and find out what your ideal client is looking for.  According to research from Buddy Media, tweets with #hashtags receive twice as much engagement as those that don’t. Put another way, you can double your engagement and increase clickthrough rates by including hashtags. Interestingly, there does seem to be an upper limit. Tweets with more than two # saw engagement drop by 17%.  Perhaps because too many look spammy. This research is for Twitter; there doesn’t seem to be the same bias on Instagram.

Twitter: 

Hashtags are mainly used to denote specific topics of conversation. If you check the left side bar on Twitter you will notice the latest “Trends” of hashtags. The “Top” option displays the most relevant and popular posts, including those from users you don’t follow. “All” shows you every tweet that uses the specific hashtag in real time, and “People you follow” will only display results from users you are following.

While hashtags are expanding in popularity and use throughout social media, I feel that Twitter is their natural habitat.  Let’s dig a little deeper.

Hashtags can be used to focus Twitter conversations around a given topic. Popular twitter chats include #beerchat#edchat, and #blogchat.

Some chats are more informal, others are led, like Rebekah Radice  and #bufferchat.

Chats are great ways of connecting with people on subjects you care about, whether it’s cooking or marketing or hang gliding.  You can search on # you’re interested in learning about, or on topics where you can establish your expertise.

Facebook:

Started supporting them in June 2013 but it has not picked up much steam like Twitter. Clicking on Facebook hashtags will take you to a list of post containing the same hashtag.

Instagram:

Hashtags on this platform complements photos and helps you discover new accounts and pick up followers. Some of the popular hashtags are #ThrowbackThursday. (This is a fun way to encourage everyone to post pictures from younger years).

They are the  secret sauce of Instagram marketing. Because there’s no easy method to share someone else’s post, (known as “regramming,” similar to “retweeting” on Twitter,) hashtags become the number one way of reaching a new audience on Instagram.

While hashtags on all social networks have the same fundamental purpose of content tagging and discovery, the use of hashtags still varies by network.Click To Tweet

Google +:

Think of hashtags as a way of developing a conversation. Draw out a conversation and encourage people to use a specific hashtag in their responses. It is a good way to engage, and it can put a tag into trending.
Tumblr: This platform has a special “tag” section where you can enter tags. These tags organize posts by topic and the hash symbol (#) is inserted automatically and the hashtags in the main body are not transformed into links.

Pinterest:

Hashtags are ONLY clickable in a Pin description. Hashtags act as a keyword to bring all of the Pins using that same hashtag together. The hashtags in this platform are most effective when they’re unique.

If you are an entrepreneurs, you do not want to miss out on the purpose of a hashtag. You need to know how to strategically implement these tagged topics. Hashtags can expand your content reach, amplify your brand, target your market, get your content found, improve your SEO, and much more. Whether you like them or not, hashtags are a key part of social media marketing.

Here is an example of how you could use hashtags. Send your followers and paying customers discount codes for including hashtags in their posts. You can also track the activity of a particular promotion all across social media when you use hashtags.

When used properly, hashtags are a great way for individuals and brands to make their social posts more visible and increase engagement. They can give people useful context and cues for recall, aggregate posts and images together, and update a group of like-minded individuals on certain a topic in real time.

How can I use a them?

To create a hashtag, simply include a # in front of a word or phrase, without spaces. A hashtag can occur at the beginning or the middle of a post. As a business, you can use a hashtag to make an event even more social, join other conversations, boost the visibility of a promotion or explore new content for content ideas.

How NOT to use a them?

Don’t abuse the hashtag, save it for when you need it. Too many hashtags looks spammy, and research has shown that engagement drops when a tweet has two or more hashtags.

Hashtags are an important and effective marketing tool, but many companies don’t understand how to use them properly or just skip using them entirely. This limits the reach of your posts and the ability of your company to show up to new audiences.

#DontCreateAHashtagThatsTooLong: Keep your hashtag short and sweet, easy to spell, and easy to remember.   You need to consider the character restrictions of social networks.  For example when creating a hashtag for an event  consider using an abbreviation or acronym, #SBW13.

 

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