A hashtag, the symbol you know as your telephone pound key, has now become a powerful social media marketing tool.
What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is a keyword or phrase preceded by the hash symbol (#). But what is its purpose? A hashtag is used to indicate a message that is relevant to a specific topic. Including hashtags in your social media posts makes the content of your post more visible to people that have similar interests; grouping your industry and audience together even if they’re not your followers or fans. For instance, using the hashtag #SocialMedia on the Facebook post about this blog, will give the post greater visibility to any audience following the #SocialMedia hashtag. According to Hootsuite using at least one Instagram hashtag averages 12.6% more engagement than those without.
Whether you are using Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook – incorporating hashtags in your posts will improve clickthrough rates and improve overall social engagement.
Hashtags are worth incorporating into your social media strategy; they can increase reach and engagement with your social media posts. However, it is important to use highly relevant hashtags to reach your target audience.
Common Hashtag Mistakes
Too many hashtags:
Don’t overwhelm your posts with tons of hashtags. If you use too many hashtags, followers or fans may overlook them as they are hard to read, do not have clear relevance, and tend to look like spam.
Only using hashtags on Twitter:
When using hashtags that relate to your content, it is important to incorporate them in other social media networks such as Instagram and Facebook to improve consistency in messaging, and broaden your audience.
Only using trending hashtags:
Sure, everyone uses #TBT (Throw Back Thursday), #TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday), but using only those hashtags for your social media strategy will limit your ability to attract the right audience. Be aware of your business objectives when using trending hashtags, and make sure the hashtag is in line with your branding and appropriate for your audience.
Ignoring local or community hashtags
Incorporating local or community hashtags demonstrates your businesses involvement with the community. It helps bring exposure to your local market. For example, Ontario SEO is in London, ON. We know that the most commonly used hashtag for London is #Lndont. Therefore, when we post about local events and Ontario SEO on social media, along with #SocialMedia #PPC #SEO #OntarioSEO, we include #Lndont to target our local audience.
Often overlooked, researching hashtags is important. To be effective, you need to use the hashtags that your audience uses! There are many free hashtag tools you can use to help monitor hashtag usage and trends. Below are some of the tools we use to monitor hashtag usage:
How many hashtags should you use on social media posts?
Some articles say two hashtags per post, some say none, some say ten or more and some say under ten.
It depends, on your audience, your content, and your market. The best way to measure success, is to avoid the hashtag mistakes mentioned above, and try different types of posts with different variants of hashtags to see what works best for your brand and audience.
Or you might just end up like Jimmy Fallon…