If you’ve ever taken a scroll through your newsfeed on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, then chances are you’re familiar with the use of hashtags. While hashtags were initially created to help users categorize and search for specific digital content by way of keywords and topics, they’ve become increasingly popular (and therefore essential) tools for helping businesses build their online brands.
Most companies and social networking users are aware of hashtags and how to place them into posts, yet learning to use them effectively involves an entirely different skill set. The right hashtags have the capability to increase your audience reach, identify with topics popular among those in your target market and do wonders for your level of brand engagement. The right hashtags have the capability to increase your audience reach, identify with topics popular among those in your target market and do wonders for your level of brand engagement.
The right hashtags have the capability to increase your audience reach, identify with topics popular among those in your target market and do wonders for your level of brand engagement.
Take a look at the list below for helpful hints on how to make sure you’re fueling your hashtags with the thought necessary for them to travel far beyond your company’s traditional audience.
As simple as they may seem, hashtags contribute to a brand’s image and should therefore be regarded with care.
When brainstorming meaningful hashtags, always consider the following:
- Audience: Effective hashtags allow businesses to directly connect with customers. Use this opportunity to find out what your audience is already discussing, and then dive into the same conversations.
- Trends: Users around the world are constantly tagging topics in which they’re interested by using hashtags in their posts. Take advantage of the fact that you can see exactly what the hot topics of the day are and contribute your share in real-time. Is there a big event happening today? Is it Super Bowl Sunday? How about the night of the Grammy Awards? In what ways can you incorporate your company’s voice into those discussions?
- Location: Are you a local business? If so, you know the value that comes with having that reputation. Why not leverage it? A good example of this in Nashville is the use of the #IBelieveInNashville slogan, made famous by a wall mural in the city’s 12South neighborhood. The hashtag currently has 28,965 public posts attributed to it on Instagram, and – if you contribute to that topic – anyone who searches it will see your company’s post. That’s a lot of extra eyes!
All successful campaigns require a plan. Be sure to sketch out your ideas and how they relate to your purpose before posting them online.
Just like all marketing content, it’s important to adapt hashtags to the platform you’re utilizing. Research shows that users are more tolerant of multiple hashtags on Instagram posts than they are of hashtags on Facebook and Twitter.
In fact, tweets containing one or two hashtags have a 21 percent higher likelihood of engaging users than those including three or more hashtags, according to a study conducted by Buddy Media that analyzed user engagement on Twitter with more than 350 of the world’s largest brands. Comparatively, Instagram posts with 11 or more hashtags tend to get more engagement.
Recognizing each social site as a unique platform with specific uses and adapting accordingly can help ensure you’re not cluttering your posts with hashtags that might actually harm engagement.
3. Keep It Simple
Too much of anything is never good, so make sure your posts are keeping hashtag usage as simple as possible.
- Keep it short: If you’re a travel agency, don’t make consumers take the time to type out #SomedayIHopeThatICanTravelTo just to share a simple thought. Longer hashtags increase the likelihood of typos, which won’t be effective when tracking your users’ engagements. Be like Travelocity and just keep it at #IWannaGo.
- Make them easy to spell: If a user is trying to find your campaign quickly and easily, they should have the ability to do so.
- Be specific: The last thing you want is to have that clever hashtag you’re so proud of mistakenly associated with another brand or competitor. Make sure your audience can trace it back to you!
Keeping your taglines simple will make your posts more engaging and easier for unsuspecting users to stumble upon.
If there’s any unchanging assumption that can be made about technology, it’s that it will always be changing. Staying on top of the most successful hashtag campaigns is key to maintaining an outstanding digital image.
The hashtag is still a fairly new marketing tool that has a lot of room to grow, but connecting with your audience directly is an opportunity that no business – no matter how large or small – can afford to ignore. By planning and adapting your posts, keeping taglines simple and informing yourself of new trends through research, your company will be one step closer to becoming a #HashtagWizard.