Are You Using Hashtags Correctly?

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Back in the day the # symbol referred to a number sign or the pound key on your landline phone. Today, we all know this symbol as the hashtag. Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last decade, you’ve likely used a hashtag or two in your social media posts. Still, a surprising number of people, even marketers, don’t always understand the best way to use a hashtag or its intended purpose. Here’s a few tips to help you get the most from your hashtags.

Hashtags are Keywords

You should think of a hashtag as a keyword, much like you would when thinking about your SEO. What terms associated with your business are your customers searching for? On social media, adding a “#” before a word is what makes it a hashtag. It triggers the social platform you’re on to index your post and it allows other users who may be searching that word or phrase to find you.

Remember, a hashtag’s intended purpose is discovery. It’s a way for the social media content to become searchable.

  1. Keep is simple.
    Many people tend to use a hashtag to express an additional thought on their post vs. using them as a search term. It looks something like this “#soblessedilovemylife”. Not only does it read like a nonsensical phrase, social media users aren’t likely to be searching for that exact string of words. Keep your hashtags short and concise. Think of relevant words to your business or the topic you are posting about. Do a quick search for the hashtags you want to use and see what types of posts are using the tags you’re considering.
  2. Quality over quantity!
    Be selective with which hashtags you choose to use. Nothing is more annoying than a post made entirely of hashtags. On Twitter, the optimal amount of hashtags is 2. On Instagram, going over 10 can hurt your chances for engagement. Surprisingly, hashtags on Facebook and LinkedIn aren’t as effective. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them, but keep it to 1 or 2 on a trending topic.
  3. Join the conversation.
    Paying attention to trending hashtags in your business niche is a great way to join conversations and get your voice out there. Take a look at what’s trending in areas like, events, holidays, pop culture, politics and topics specific to your business.
  4. Do some digging.
    Yes, using trending hashtags will help get your post into the mix. However, when a hashtag has a lot of traction, it means you’ll be competing against more and more people for attention. Look at terms that might not be trending, but that are popular within your business sector. You’ll still be getting in front of more people and will have less competition to contend with.

Use your hashtags wisely and you’ll start to see your posts reach extend and engagement to go up. Keep track of which hashtags are working for you and use that to continue building them into your social media strategy. If you’re using tools like Sprout Social or Hootsuite, there are built-in tools that make hashtag tracking simple!

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