With Facebook recently announcing that their platform would now accept hashtags it’s important to understand what they are and the opportunities they present to your business. This blog post will take you through the key things you need to know to start using hashtags to boost your social media presence.
What are hashtags?
A hashtag is a word with a hash symbol (#) at the beginning, used to highlight key words or topics within a message. When used, they link to a list of other messages containing the same hashtag, allowing for tracking of conversations within a social network.
Where do I find hashtags?
Over the past few years the hashtag has been seen as very much a way of life on Twitter, after being created by Chris Messina for the social networking website back in 2007. However, hashtags are also common on Facebook, Instagram (the Facebook-owned photo and video sharing app), and Vine (the Twitter-owned video sharing app), as well as various other websites and blogging platforms.
Why should I use hashtags?
Hashtags are a great way to start or join in on a discussion across social media websites. Joining a discussion on these channels makes it more likely for your profile to be found. This is especially the case when you join a conversation using trending topic hashtags, which are hashtags used on Twitter that are very popular at that specific point in time.
How should I use hashtags?
The use of hashtags varies from one platform to another so there are different ways you can use them. Check out these five easy ways to make the most of hashtags.
- Don’t overuse hashtags in your social media updates. Using more than one or two hashtags per message could be seen as spamming and seems as though you’re trying to communicate with lots of different groups of people. Would you do that when speaking to someone face-to-face?
- Keep it relevant. Don’t write a message about the great deal you have on bathroom tile grouting and then add ‘#JustinBieber’ to the end just to increase the reach of your post! This is irrelevant to your product or message and is likely to receive a negative response rather than a positive one.
- Create your own hashtags. This is a great way of instigating conversation among your existing followers and can help spread your conversation further. When creating your own hashtags ensure they’re not too complicated. Too often we see companies making hashtags #OutOfMultipleWords and these are ultimately hard to understand and memorise. Your hashtags should be easy to read and recall so people can start it in their messages. Take care to avoid ambiguous hashtags. Susan Boyle’s record label got in trouble for their ill-conceived hashtag promoting her new album launch, so make sure you check yours twice!
- Promote your hashtags offline. A lot of hashtag promotion now comes through offline methods which prompt people to get online and talk about that brand or product. You can’t go five minutes without seeing a hashtag on television nowadays. They’re on adverts, at the start of programs, and there’s nothing stopping you doing the same. Add the hashtag to anything, including your printed advertising to get people involved online.
- Take part in Follow Friday! You may have noticed a weekly phenomenon on Twitter called Follow Friday. This is essentially a way for companies and individuals to share who they believe their followers should be following. To do this they put ‘#FF’ in their Tweet. This is a good way to get your business name noticed. If you’re lucky, the Twitter accounts you feature might reciprocate, promoting you to all their followers too. Why not give it a try this Friday?
I hope you’ve found this information useful. Let us know how you get on generating some buzz across your social media channels!