Hashtags: Surprisingly Powerful When Used Correctly

Feeling hazy about hashtags? Uncertain how they can benefit your business? Using them blindly and hoping for the best? It stops now! Once you know the reason for hashtags, how to create them and the ideal number to use in posts on different platforms, you’ll have them working for you and increasing your engagement across platforms almost immediately. This quick and easy fix will improve the results of your social media marketing efforts by tomorrow!

What Are Hashtags, and Why Do We Use Them?
First, understand the purpose behind hashtags so that you can choose them with the right goals in mind. Hashtags are important on nearly every platform, with the exception of LinkedIn, be-cause they are used to identify and categorize specific topics. On most platforms, using a hashtag in front of a word turns it into a searchable link. For example, if you include the word #business in a post, #business becomes hyperlinked, so the user can click on it to get more in-formation. They are then able to find search results for all posts that include the term #business. As you can imagine, by including key hashtags in your posts, your posts will be discovered easily when people search those same hashtags. It is a simple way of increasing the reach of your posts.

Choosing and Creating Hashtags
Make your life easier and create a working list of hashtags you can refer to. You can easily copy and paste hashtags from this list for your posts. This list can be kept in spreadsheet form as a file on your computer; you may want to include it as a sheet in your social media calendar spreadsheet. To create your list, browse the feeds of prominent businesses, organizations and influencers in your industry and note the commonly used hashtags that are relevant to your own business and goals. Do this on each platform you post on. Moving forward, keep your list current by removing outdated hashtags or hashtags you never use, and add new ones, including new industry or event-specific ones.

You may also wish to create hashtags for specific events or campaigns that you stage. When doing so, keep it as short as possible. People are more likely to use it if it easily fits within Twit-ter’s 140 character limit. Also, make sure the hashtag is not already in use for another event. You may have to get creative with abbreviations, keywords and themes. Ideally, you want to use a hashtag that has never been used, but with the hashtag trend gaining ground, many hashtags are already in action.

If you must reuse a hashtag for your own event or campaign, consider how long ago it was used, and what it was used for previously. If the hashtag was used eons ago and has no recent history, you are probably good to use it as long as the hashtag was previously used for something you find acceptable. If your hashtag was used for a punk music festival, and you want to use it for a corporate conference, you may want to rethink your hashtag choice. Always remember that your hashtag is a searchable component, and you want your audience to get the right message.

How Many Hashtags per Post?
Using the right number of hashtags increases your posting success, and each platform has its own criteria for that ideal number.

On Twitter, it is good practice to only use two to three hashtags per tweet. This keeps the tweet readable at a glance, and reaps the benefits of being a search tool.

The ideal number of hashtags on Instagram, however, is an average of 11, and Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post.

On Facebook, stick to one or two of the most relevant hashtags for the best engagement results, but know that hashtags are not as crucial here as on Twitter or Instagram.

Still a little fuzzy on how you can improve your social media marketing results? Social media is my passion and I would love to sit down with you to discuss options for your business. Give me a call today to find out more.

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