You can use hashtags across social networks to:
- build your brand
- attract attention
- get social engagement
- optimize your content
- find and connect with your target audience
- generate conversation
- build relationships with your prospects
Regardless of how you want to use hashtags, it’s important to first understand what they are and how they’re being used across platforms to help you make the most of your social media marketing efforts.
What is a Hashtag?
A hashtag is a social media tool or tag used to:
- categorize content
- boost awareness of your brand
- expand the reach of your content
A hashtag is a keyword used to track social media mentions.
Using a hashtag in a social post is as simple as adding the # sign before a single word or phrase without spaces or punctuation (numbers are okay).
A hashtag is used in a social media post to be clicked, which then directs you to like-minded folks discussing the same subject or using that hashtag.
Twitter is where the hashtag became what it is today.
The first use of hashtags can be traced back to one man, Chris Messina. Chris is a former Google employee who worked in developer relations and as a designer on Google+ and tweeted the first ever hashtag.
This tweet took place all the way back in 2007.
how do you feel about using # (pound) for groups. As in #barcamp [msg]?
— Chris Messina (@chrismessina) August 23, 2007
Studies show that tweets that include hashtags receive twice the engagement as those that don’t.
You can use up to two hashtags per post to gain momentum.
— Yoga Journal (@Yoga_Journal) June 7, 2016
You are better off not to over-tag a single tweet and not to string too many words together with a single hashtag.
When you tweet using a specific hashtag, anyone searching for that hashtag can find your content.
Use hashtags only on tweets relevant to your topic.
— Yoga Journal (@Yoga_Journal) June 7, 2016
Facebook is a different story. Hashtags have only been used in Facebook since 2013 but have become a commonly seen feature on the site.
Stick to using two hashtags per post max.
Using more than two hashtags per post can lead to a drop in follower engagement.
On Instagram, you are encouraged to use up to 11 hashtags that can boost your engagement.
“Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ?: Mark Niedringhaus Model: Kristen Andrews @yogichic ? Dog: Murphy #yoga #sup #supyoga #wheel #yogapup #yogadog #meditation #vikalpa #mantra #mantramonday #ocean #summer
On Google+, your posts are given hashtags automatically based on their content but you can also edit or add your own.
How to Effectively Use Hashtags?
You can effectively begin your hashtag usage with a little research, just like with the keywords you are targeting in your content marketing and SEO efforts.
There are a variety of free and paid tools you can use that will scour social media to determine the best hashtags to use to engage your specific audience.
Some of the most popular ones include:
- org: Want to jump in on a conversation that already begun? This site offers you the ability to see hashtags that are popular or currently trending.
- RiteTag: Once you’ve entered a tweet with hashtags, this tool helps you assess which hashtags you used to give your tweet the highest chance of being discovered by highlighting them in red, blue or green.
- me: This tool explores Twitter hashtags and their relationships, showing you hashtags related to a specific keyword.
How to Create Compelling Posts Using Your Hashtags
Once you’ve figure out the hashtags you want to leverage across social media, you’ll need to create content to promote them.
Do some research to better understand what kind of content engages the followers on the platforms you want to use your hashtags across—be it Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Then begin with crafting your content.
Follow these tips for creating compelling social media content.
On Instagram, visual content is a given. But to drive follower engagement across Twitter and Facebook as well, you’ll want to include a high-quality image along with your post.
Tag Influencers in Your Post
Get your post on the radar of social media influencers and tag them in your posts, who can then extend the reach of your social media content across their own vast networks.
Make sure the hashtags you are using are relevant to their industry or brand first.
The Ultimate Guide To Hashtags Infographic
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Also published on Medium.