Hashtags (links with the pound sign — # — in front) are everywhere. From Twitter to Google+, to Instagram and most recently Facebook, the proper use of hashtags can be somewhat confusing! Having said this, they’re an important part of social media and should not be taken lightly when applying them to your brand’s digital strategy.
To start, a # will make any word or phrase directly behind it into a completely searchable link. In essence, hashtags help aggregate content across many platforms and allows for better organization around a topic or conversation.
- Text following a hashtag should not (and cannot) include spaces, periods, commas, question marks, apostrophes, exclamation points or any special characters.
- Numbers are allowed.
- There are no limits to hashtags, so feel free to make up your own — or better yet, enter in on a current conversation to stay extra relevant!
As mentioned above, hashtags can be used on a number of social platforms.
- Twitter: This is where hashtags first started. Be sure to check out the Trends section on the side of your Twitter feed to see the current list of hashtags that you may find interesting, typically based on your tweets.
- Instagram: Hashtags on this image-focused platform help you obtain new followers and also provide great sources of finding new users and interesting content.
- Tumblr: On here, there is a specific Tag area where you can input certain terms, which basically act as hashtags and organizes content around conversations.
- Google+: Similar to a Google search, clicking on a hashtag will show results relating to the topic at hand and will also give you the option of searching the # on Facebook or Twitter.
- Facebook: Although only introduced a few months ago, hashtags on this popular site have not done as well as originally expected. Although hashtags on Facebook serve a similar function as Twitter or Instagram, many digital marketers question the actual benefits of including hashtags in posts.
In addition to helping your company create or join a conversation online, hashtags often better help define a brand’s personality. With a tone that may include sarcasm or humor, etc. hashtags can create a unique brand voice, which will ultimately keep your company top of mind for users. Note that you should not add too many hashtags to your posts/tweets, as more than 3-4 can often be seen as spam.
Lastly, creating a hashtag that your company or brand can own is crucial. Whether or not you decide to create your own or simply take over an existing one is up to you, as both have great benefits. Keep in mind the following:
- Creating a #: Be sure to do research before you choose. If you decide to join a conversation, make sure you pick a hashtag that has many users already using it. If you decide to make up your own, make sure that it’s unique by checking to see if anyone has used it previously.
- Be consistent: After you decide on a hashtag(s), be sure to use them consistently across all of your brand’s social platforms and marketing materials. Teaching your audience to expect certain messaging that will (hopefully) get them to tweet or post with your hashtag in the future!
- Make it short & to the point: Keep your hashtags short so they are clear to users and are easy to use by others. Also, be sure that the hashtag isn’t too generic to keep it as effective as possible.
- Stay relevant: Be sure to follow current trending hashtags and be sure to use hashtags that relate to your business. If they’re not relevant to you, don’t use them as it’ll end up looking like spam.
- Utilize your hashtag: A great way to kick off a new hashtag is by introducing it via a contest or promotion which will get the attention of your fan base. Do so in a creative way that will immediately make your fans think of your brand when they see it!
Comments, questions? Feel free to add them below and we’ll get back to you!