Every time you post to Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform, your goal is to share quality content that gets noticed by the people you’re trying to reach. Unfortunately, countless posts fall by the wayside, quality content or not. There are simply too many posts for readers to see and respond to, meaning you need a way to help your updates find their way to your target audience. Hashtags help you do just that.
Hashtags are keywords and keyword phrases introduced by the # symbol (e.g., #hashtags). They’re most widely-known for their use within the content of posts on Twitter, but have also been incorporated into other platforms you may be using to promote your business, such as Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram and, most recently, Facebook.
How Hashtags Work
When you include a hashtag in your post, it becomes a clickable link. When people click on this link, they’re then able to view all other posts (within that platform) that have included the same hashtag. People can also search keywords within platforms, turning up hashtag results. For this reason, all hashtags are not created equal.
The more broad the keyword, the more posts that will turn up and, in turn, the harder it will be to stand out. On the other hand, it’s possible to go to the other extreme, using hashtags no else ever uses or searches. In other words, hashtags are a great way to follow, and be part of, a conversation on a particular topic, but they do little good if you’re the only one in the room. That said, it’s natural and fine for you to be the only one (at first) using hashtags for events or products unique to your business.
How To Choose Hashtags
Before you use a hashtag, search it within the platform to see what turns up. If it’s an unfocused collection of posts that yours is bound to get buried in or it turns up few, if any results at all, try something else.
Even if your hashtag is an event or product you believe unique to your business, a search can’t hurt. You could very well discover that someone else is using the same hashtag, but promoting an event or product you don’t want to be associated with. In that case, rethink your hashtag.
How To Use Hashtags In Your Posts
When incorporating hashtags into your social media marketing, keep the following best practices in mind:
- Use hashtags sparingly. One is ideal, two is fine, three is pushing it.
- Include them within the main text of your post, or tack them on to the end. For instance, if the keyword naturally appears with the your post content, you may go ahead and place a # symbol in front of it. Of course, if you don’t care for the aesthetic of this approach, you can tack the hashtag onto the end of the post instead (provided you have room within the character count, if applicable).
- Carefully consider your use of hashtags on Facebook. So far, they’re not only proving ineffective, but harmful in some cases, with zero viral impact. Facebook users expect a more personal experience than on other platforms, which could explain why hashtags may come across as garish within this more intimate context. It’s early yet, though, as Facebook only recently incorporated hashtag functionality. So you may want to do a bit of experimenting with a hashtag here or there on selected posts.
How To Use Hashtags To Discover and Engage
Your use of hashtags should not be limited to your inclusion of them within your own posts. They’re a great way to discover other users who engage in conversations relevant to your business. Search keywords you’re already using, or may be considering using, and join the conversation. After all, the better you get to know the people who use your targeted hashtags, the more likely they’ll be to respond to your hashtagged posts in the future.
If you’d like support for your social media management, CyberMark International can help. Contact Us for details.