Hashtags were first used on Twitter in 2007 but since then they have become a part of other social media platforms including Instagram and many other Television and video campaigns. Using hashtags is a social media strategy that can be used to boost your social media engagement.
A hashtag is made up of a hash (#) and a keyword or phrase. You do not include a space between them. For example:
What Are Hashtags Used For?
Hashtags make it easier for people to follow topics that they are interested in. If you are looking for a particular topic, you do not need to scroll down the entire topics to find what you are searching for. Hashtags connect social media topics to contents that are related to that topic.
They can also be used to connect themes, conversations or events. So, hashtags put together similar social media content together. Twitter put it that tweets that have hashtags can increase engagement of individuals by almost 100% which is twice of tweets without it and can increase the engagement for brands by 50% which is about 1.5 times of those without hashtags.
This shows that tweets with hashtags get to be discovered by more people, so they get better engagements.
What Basic Things Should You Know About Hashtags?
- They begin with a hash (#) and you do not include symbols or punctuation marks when writing them
- You will need to make your account on the social network public so that the hashtag contents can also be seen by non-followers
- Let your hashtags be clear and relevant. If it is ambiguous, it may not be easy to find and it will hardly be used by other social media users
- Hashtags that are short are easier to remember, so, do not use too many words in your hashtag phrase
- When you use too many hashtags, your account will look spammy
What Do We Deploy Hashtags For?
- Hashtags make you visible as part of conversations on a specific topic going on the social media platform. With hashtags, your posts will be a visible part of those conversations. People can then engage with your post leading to more likes, shares comments and followers
- You can use hashtags to build your brand, promote your business and encourage conversation around it. For example:
The first example can encourage those who love cooking or who will love to make a living out of cooking to follow your hashtag and join in your conversations and even show support for what you are doing.
You can also use it to connect your brands to social issues. Hashtags can also be used to show your support for social and contemporary issues, or mobilize support for a cause. For example:
- On social media, there is usually no room for you to say everything that you may wish to say. For example, on Twitter, you only have space for 280 characters. How then can you use 280 characters to say everything that you would like to say? You only need to use hashtags to contextualize what you intend to talk about. For example
- With hashtags, you are more visible which makes it easier for your target audience to find you. Your brands are also easily found and promoted. You can also use your hashtags to get new followers.
On every social media, some hashtags gain more popularity than others. Some popular hashtags on Instagram in March 2020 include:
- #love with 1.7 billion posts
- #Instagood had 1.1 billion posts
- #photooftheday with 763 million posts
- #nature with 494 million posts
Hashtags that do solicit for clicks hardly get followers engaged and may not have much relevance to your social media posts. And they easily spam your account.
Popular hashtags also do not mean that they are the best hashtags. But they encourage other users to join in the conversation.
Also, what may be considered as popular hashtags on one social media platform may not be popular on another. They are also usually not restricted to a particular industry or theme and may not relate much with your brand.
How to Find and Use the Best Hashtags
- Research on what your competitors and other social media influencers are doing. Look up the most popular hashtags in your niche that they use. Take note of their keywords and apply similar ones to your hashtags
- Find the best hashtags on any social media with Hashtagify.me. It will show you the overall popularity for that hashtag, how it has fared recently and how its trend has been during the week or the whole month
- Use the RiteTag platform to know which hashtags are trending. It will work with your suggested content to bring up trending hashtags. You can analyze to know the best hashtags where your post can be immediately viewed. It can also give you a detailed analysis on any hashtag that it has generated
- Get Trends map to show you the latest trends on the social media from anywhere of the world. When you click on a word or on hashtag that is on the map, it will bring up results for that location. With Trends map, you can tell how different locations are reacting to different trending topics. With such information, you can plan how best to reach out to your target audience and get discovered by them
Some Hashtag Mistakes That You Should Avoid
It is possible that you do not get enough impressions for your hashtags tweets. There are mistakes that can be responsible for such. Let us take a look at some of these mistakes:
i. Putting your hashtag at the end of the tweet. The danger of this is that when others are retweeting your tweets and their information is being added at the beginning, yours may get cut off along the way. So it is better for the hashtag to be at the beginning. If the hashtag should be at the end, then the tweet should be really short.
ii. Having an @ symbol at the beginning of the tweet. If you begin the tweet with the @ symbol, then the tweet will only be directed to you, the recipient and the five followers that you have in common. This means that it will exclude all your other followers. So, no matter, how many they are, your tweets will not reach them. If you want to use the @ symbol, try adding a short comment before it such as LOL then you can add the @ symbol at the start of your tweet.
iii. If you want to get many impressions, then it is better to shorten and edit the message so that you can maintain your hashtags.
iv. Use Hootsuite to listen to social media trends. You can search streams to know the best hashtags for any social network. When you search streams, you will know which are the most popular and which are more effective.
v. Use related hashtags. After you have researched and concluded on the best hashtags that can work really well for your brand, you can seek out other hashtags that are related to them. Use more specific hashtags that will link you to your target audience.
vi. Keep a track record of the most successful hashtags that had trended previously. See if they can show some relationships to the hashtags that you are using. Save any popular hashtags that have also appeared in your most popular posts and you can go back to them any time in the future when you need to use such hashtags. From time to time, you can pick a few and use them to promote your tweets.
How to Know if Your Hashtag is Relevant to Your Audience
When you post, it should be with your audience in mind. If you use hashtags wrongly with the intent of forcefully getting the attention of an audience, then it will amount to spam. If your hashtags is: #Covid19tips
and the content of your message and your link have no relationship to the ravaging pandemic, then it will constitute spam content and it will be difficult for you to reach the right audience with your message because of the wrong hashtag.
So, you should make sure that you use the right hashtag and the content should be relevant to your target audience. Now, how can you tell if a hashtag is relevant?
If you do not understand what a hashtag means, then you should check up its definition or meaning. You can also try to know what the influencers in your industry are using. That can give you some idea about its relevance.
A Catchy Hashtag
When you want to create a catchy hashtag, consider the following:
- If the hashtag already exists and how it has been previously used. If the hashtag has previously been used negatively, then it is better to avoid it
- How lengthy the hashtag should be. Shorter hashtags have the chance of lesser errors than longer ones and shorter ones stay in the memory for longer time
- The alphabet case that you use for your hashtags does not really matter but those that have capital letters are more readable and easier to follow
Hashtags are useful for identifying topics, following conversations and getting seen by your target audience. If you use them the right way, they can generate the much desired attention so much care has to be taken to get it right.
Try out Wealthy Affiliate to learn more how hashtags are used to boost website traffic.