Before we delve into the topic of hashtags let’s do a quick introduction.
Since the advent of the internet, a lot of groundbreaking phenomena have taken place. There have been new technological inventions, developments in the means of communication, movements, controversies, and scandals, fads, 24*7 shopping, constant access to entertainment and so much more that it is beyond imagination. No wonder it had been termed the “information superhighway”.
A lot of incidents at a massive scale keep taking place on the internet, like trends and popular happenings that are larger than life. But there are a lot of things that have the power to bring about a change and get people talking on such a vast platform. Some of these can be very very small in size (both literally and metaphorically) but make a big difference.
Today something as small as a symbol has taken over the internet. Yes, you read it right. You must have definitely noticed a symbol called the hashtag that looks somewhat like this: #. Well, it is not just a symbol any more. It has got a much larger connotation. The hashtag is a thing in itself now. A very powerful and impactful tool on social media.
If you want to look up information on social media sites that have a particular content or theme, you can just use a hashtag before the word, without leaving a space. A hashtag acts as a label and helps in finding information quickly and easily.
Why should one use hashtags?
Let’s explore a few reasons as to how hashtags can be useful:
- They add some context to your social media posts. It is a good way, to sum up, what the concept of your post is since elaborate captions are often pretty ineffective. Hence it is a great way to get your point across without having to describe in detail
- They help in directing the attention of the users towards content that is eye-catching.
- Often institutions and organizations also make use of hashtags to reach out to their target audience.
- Hashtags are key when it comes to boosting social media engagement for your company online. When you use hashtags in a post, it automatically shows that your brand or company is part of that particular conversation happening on social media platforms.
- These days a lot of movements and discussions regarding various social issues take place online on various platforms. If you use relevant hashtags while posting about such issues, it helps users know that your company cares about such causes. It is a great way to display solidarity. For example, #MentalHealthMatters, #BlackLivesMatter etc.
- Hashtags more often than not urge and compel the users to take some action. When they come across a hashtag that is of interest to them, they actually make the effort to go ahead and know more about the content relevant to the hashtag.
Well, seems like Chris Messina did a great job by first discovering in 2007 that the pound symbol most of us have on our keyboards could be used as a “hashtag”. From that time the popularity of hashtags only seems to have grown and has turned into a great way to connect and interact on social media.
What is even better is that hashtags have transcended from Twitter onto other social media platforms as well and garnered a lot of popularity.
How can one use hashtags effectively?
There are a few practices that one needs to follow to make sure that hashtags are being used effectively and yielding results. Although it does differ from platform to platform, below are a few tips to ace the hashtag game across most of them. Let’s see what they are:
1. No space
When using a hashtag always keep in mind that no space should be left between the hashtag and the word following it. Similarly, there should be no punctuations or symbols used either.
2. Short, simple, sweet
A hashtag having too many words is a straight-up no. It should consist of a few words and be kept crisp and easy to remember.
3. Have a public account
If the account from which you are posting the content and hashtags are not public, nobody apart from your followers will be able to view them. That restricts the reach.
4. The less the better
Using too many hashtags in a single post can be very off-putting for viewers. Therefore it is better to limit the number of hashtags being used and keep it neat.
5. Use platform and topic relevant hashtags
There is a thought process that goes behind using hashtags, keep in mind that it cannot be done impulsively. All platforms don’t have a similar kind of audience. A hashtag that works for Twitter might not work for LinkedIn or Instagram and vice versa. Hence it is necessary to keep that in mind and choose hashtags relevant to a platform. Also, post hashtags that are relevant to a topic and people would be familiar with. Yes, creativity is needed but it can’t be so absurd that people don’t get it.
6. Create impressive hashtags
The hashtags that you want to come up with, need to be spot on, unique and unforgettable. They also have to be in sync with the content that you will be sharing along with it. Keep it simple yet catchy. They could even be unique to your own marketing campaign.
7. Capitalize, please
The first letter of each word in the hashtag should always be in capitals. This helps the reader to understand each word clearly. The best part is that they are not case sensitive.
8. Research, research, research
Research is always the most important part of any project or task. Before using any hashtag or coming up with a new one, do your research. Go through the various social media platforms and check what is the buzz, what all is trending, and then accordingly start ideating. You could even go through a list of older hashtags to get an idea about the pattern to be followed.
9. Hashtag tools are everywhere
Two very popular tools one can use are Hashtagify.me and RiteTag. The former helps you in locating hashtags from Twitter and Instagram that would best suit your brand. You can look up any hashtag and check its popularity. It also provides you with suggestions according to the content.
The latter on the other hand provides you with trending hashtag suggestions. You get a detailed report on how well your hashtags would do on an immediate and long term basis.
All said and done, hashtags are still not everything that a campaign is about. Whether it is for Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn, there are a lot of other aspects that go into marketing your brand successfully. These would include quality content and content management, lead generation strategies, using necessary Google tools, etc.
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