How to Hashtag like a pro
A word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic.
Over the years, hashtags have increased massively in use, serving as a filter in a sea of tweets, pictures and GIFs. However, since the growth of social media platforms, hashtags are more important than ever. Facebook, Instagram and even LinkedIn, utilise hashtagging to help filter content, too. But what’s the best practice to use them effectively?
We’ve compiled some quick tips to help you get the most out of your company’s hashtag strategy.
How to get started
Hashtagging is super easy once you get the hang of it. Add a hashtag and the word(s) you wish to be searched for to your desired message (e.g.: #DigitalMarketing), and anyone who searches the term and/or is already following that tag can find any post with that it included instantly. Easy-peasy, right?
To build out your hashtag strategy, you’ll need to do some testing – use different hashtags to identify which ones drive traffic to your posts/profile page and which ones aren’t working for you. Take a look at your competitors and see which hashtags they’re using, search some key hashtags and see which other tags people are using alongside them. There’s no strict requirement on who can use a specific hashtag either, which means you can get involved in any conversations you like.
Branded hashtags can be used to help promote things such as events and training sessions that you’re running, competitions you want people to get involved in or even a local twitter chat to help build local knowledge of your business. Use your brand name or tagline in these hashtags – such as #TeamEcrubox or #EcruboxLife – to help build a community with your users and to humanise the brand.
A good example of this is #ShareACoke, run by Coca Cola after they added a range of names to their packaging. Twitter quickly became flooded with user-generated content as people all over the world shared their Coke, and in turn, this user generated content could be used to further advertise the brand.
Hashtags are being used in slightly different ways on each social media channel. For example, on Twitter you might only use one or two to illustrate your point, whereas on Instagram you can use up to 30 separate hashtags to help boost the reach of your image.
Consider your formatting
A hashtag can’t contain spaces, so to help differentiate words, we recommend capitalising them – this helps the user to read them at a glance and makes them look neat on your posts, for example: #ILoveEcrubox is much easier to read that #iloveecrubox.
When you’re grouping a string of hashtags together on Instagram, there are a few different ways of formatting your posts so that they don’t look messy. Many clients ask us if it’s best to put hashtags in the post, or in a comment and we tend to recommend the former. There has been a significant amount of testing undertaken to see if there is any impact on reach and engagement using one method over the other, but the results don’t show any massive differences.
By placing your hashtags within the post itself, it allows you to go back in retrospectively and make changes if you need to. We also find that adding hashtags as a comment skews engagement data – making it look like your posts have been more successful than they really have.
Most people add in some line breaks to separate the hashtags from the main copy – you can be creative here, though. Don’t feel bound to dots and dashes, if it’s appropriate explore using emojis or be a bit more creative!
Choose your hashtags wisely
You need to ensure that the hashtags that you use directly relate to the message your posting and your industry. It’s all good and well using hashtags like #sale #igers etc. to get more eyes on your posts, but if the people who see it aren’t interested in the content, then it’s a wasted effort. Whilst on Instagram, you can (and should be!) using up to 30 hashtags per post, on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn three is more than enough.
Getting involved in ‘TweetChats’ is a great way to use hashtags in order to connect with relevant audiences. Scheduled conversations take place on Twitter for many different topics and industries, and can be locally focussed or even worldwide conversations. Ensure all your tweets contain the correct hashtag (e.g. #BizHour) to make sure your posts are seen. The best way to find out about relevant TweetChats is by being active on the platform, follow your customers and competitors to keep an eye on the conversations they’re involved in.
Remember that many people will find your post as a result of searching for a hashtag – so think about what they might be searching for and make sure you include some appropriate, generic tags (e.g. #DigitalMarketing) alongside branded hashtags (e.g. #EcruboxLife) to make sure that you’re generating brand awareness, whilst reaching as many relevant people as possible.
Let us know how you get on with your hashtag strategy via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. And if it’s still too much to get your head around, get in touch for an exploratory phone call. Let’s see how we could become a part of your team and help drive your business forward.