How to Use Hashtags Tastefully
Remember the days when # meant ‘pound sign’ instead of ‘hashtag’?
The funny thing is that like home phones, pagers, and that sound AOL used to make—your kids will never know life with any of these.
When hashtags started making their way onto my twitter, Instagram, and eventually Facebook feeds I was one of the major complainers. At first glance, hashtags seemed clunky and irrelevant. It took a while, but I’ve come to understand the practical and fun sides of hashtagging and I’m here today to report back my findings.
Hashtags are a great way to make your content searchable. If you don’t know, placing # before any string of text creates a clickable tag that people can search for. Just for reference, here are some of the most popular Instagram hashtags.
Use Hashtags Sparingly
As the title of this post would suggest, over tagging any piece of content on social media is a great way to turn off followers. Hashtags are used to make content searchable in order to spur social media engagement and ultimately lead visitors to your webpage.
But if you frustrate your core customers by cluttering their social networks, you will lose your dedicated following in pursuit of new followers. It’s a lot like not returning your best friends calls because you’re too busy texting a stranger.
Some sites offer blocks of the most common hashtags used that can be copied and pasted into Instagram. But the reason I’m not linking to that service is because I honestly don’t believe that’s the right way for a business person to approach social media.
Once again, the key to powerful social media is a strong element of personalization.Using too many hashtags (Instagram allows 30) is an example of painting with too broad of a brush.
Use Appropriate Hashtags
Even if you only use a couple hashtags, it’s usually not a good idea to simply cherry pick the most popular tags from twitters trending list. That said, there are some great resources like hashtags.org that can help you learn which hashtags are on the rise and relate to your content so you can use the most popular tags possible.
Research the Hashtags
Before you go tagging crazy with every relevant, popular tag you can find—you should do some research. Use those clickable links to your advantage by checking out what context people are using that particular tag in. Now, the social media world is very much a mixed bag of content and so don’t feel the need to go through every tweet. But there’s a chance that the popular hashtag in question may not actually mean what you think it means.
Brands are constantly finding new ways to promote their social media shares using hashtags. I can’t tell you exactly what the best option is for your brand because your brand is (or should be) a unique presence with unique needs.
A great way to get started is to engage your following by creating hashtags that relate to your specific brand. This is a great way to encourage community generated content. If you, for instance, own a restaurant—you could create a hashtag to be used when your customers visit so you can track their feedback in a non-invasive way. You don’t always have to tap into the resource of hashtags that have already been established—venture into the unknown.
If you’re interested in learning more about how social media is impacting business and how to stay on the cutting edge—check out our free Social Media Tuneup eBook below.
Or give us a call and let us tell you more about hashtags, retweets, and inbound marketing.
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