February 28, 2018
Hashtags—short links lead by the pound sign (#)—may seem confusing and unnecessary to some users in social media, but hashtags have become an essential way in which we communicate online. On social channels, the pound sign (a.k.a hashtag) can turn any word(s) into a searchable link that organizes content and tracks discussions based on the word(s) used.
Now that we understand the hashtag, we can apply this to business and marketing best practices. Before venturing out and using hashtags for everything in social media, here are a few key dos and don’ts to consider.
Do: Research hashtags
Major brands have social accounts where they are free to create and use their own hashtags. Brands should consider researching hashtags to be sure they’re using the correct one. It is important to check if the hashtag you plan to use could be interpreted in another way or if it’s being used for a different meaning. This can help avoid negative conflicts in the future.
Do: Consider the social channel
According to AdWeek, hashtags are most searchable on social platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Facebook hashtag search results only include public posts and posts from your “friends” list. However, Facebook is working to improve the usage of hashtags in the future.
Do: Promote hashtags in marketing materials
A great way to promote a marketing campaign is through the promotion of a hashtag. By including your hashtag(s) in your print or online ads, you will be able to see and track more engagement when users post on social media. Then, you can follow what your audience is saying about your product or service and engage in the conversation!
Don’t: Overpopulate with hashtags
The key is to make the audience want to look at your social media posts. #They #don’t #want #to #look #at #this. When there are too many hashtags in one post, it can be overwhelming and irritating to consumers. They may not understand what they’re to take away from your post. According to a report by Socialbakers (see graph below), it has been found that social posts perform better with fewer hashtags.
Don’t: Overemphasize the brand name
As long as your post is well thought out and natural, you don’t need to add a branded hashtag every chance you get. The hashtag should properly promote the brand and resonate with the target audience. In doing so, your audience will naturally make the connection to your hashtag.
Don’t: Be vague
Try not to use hashtags that vaguely describe your brand or industry. Instead, try to focus on the interest of the audience that you are targeting to receive better engagement. The more specific you are with the use of your hashtag, the more likely your audience will interact with your social media efforts.
Make sure you’re sharing the most relevant content with your target audience so you are making the right brand impression. The use of hashtags will allow you to make a positive one on social media if you are careful about their use.
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