Ever perused the internet and seen that pesky hash/number/pound sign before a word? Maybe someone used the word hashtag in an anecdote in real life when telling a funny story and you thought, is that a new thing? Well, these symbols are definitely trending when it comes to content creation but they aren’t just some strange version of 21st-century punctuation, they have a legitimate and helpful purpose.
But you may have known that already. The trick is understanding how to make the most of the #hashtag for your marketing efforts on social media.
What is a hashtag?
When a hashtag is added before a word to a post on social media, it is then indexed by that platform and then discoverable via search. This allows for content to be categorized by the writer and then displayed easily to anyone interested in that topic. It is a self-created filtering system within what can be a chaotic and overpopulated area, social media. The hashtag is used most effectively on Twitter for jumping in on real-time conversations and on Instagram for finding new profiles posting about your particular interests.
How to use a hashtag?
Let’s say someone wants to learn all about video marketing, they can search #videomarketing and discover brands and individuals they have never heard of before and then jump in on the conversation. That means at Promo since we work in the world of video marketing, we’d want to use #videomarketing in our Tweets and Instagram marketing video examples in order to make sure our information gets to the people most interested.
You can also search for an event and use the dedicated hashtag for that activity whenever you’re posting about it on Twitter. Say you’re enjoying the summer Olympics, you’d want to post using #Olympics2018 because that’s where the conversation is taking place – the feed indexed under that populated hashtag. In the case of events you’ll need to do a quick search not to use the wrong hashtag such as #2018Olympics because, while it might make logical sense to you to use certain wording, hashtags are specific and if you’re not using the dedicated and relevant one already out there, you won’t land on the bustling chatter.
When to use a hashtag?
The short answer is all the time. Especially on Twitter where your audience is most inclined to start off the viewing experience by looking at relevant hashtags, sometimes even more so than simply looking at their feed full of friends’ posts.
The trick is to use them correctly and not push it into your text if the content isn’t relevant. If you use a hashtag when one makes no sense, it can actually hurt your engagement online. So, just like with everything else when it comes to your business, be truthful about what your content item offers to actually see results.
You may be asking yourself, how could someone possibly use a hashtag incorrectly (aside from just choosing the “wrong one”)? Well, one of the best uses of a hashtag is when there is a real-life event that the zeitgeist is obsessing on with a correlated hashtag. On Twitter, you can find the Top 10 trends in your geo at any given moment. So, should you see #WorldSeries on the trending page and want to use the hashtag #WorldSeries when you have no baseball-related content, just to get eyes on your post, this will not serve your interests. BUT if you use #WorldSeries and then take the opportunity to make a twist like, for example, a gym business tweeting it’s favorite healthy foods to eat while watching the game, that can work exceptionally well! You’ve just got to find your hook.
Play around on each social media platform by searching a number of keywords connected to your business until you find the ones with the highest engagement. Then sprinkle them into your content regularly. You can also check the trending page daily to see what new fun posts you can drum up based on that day’s activity.
Our team does monthly hashtag research to anticipate a number of trends we can count on and created the Promo Plan full of content and video examples you can know will have a lot of noise online.
Create your hashtag
As your business grows you can create your own hashtag with your company name so that when others post about you, it all shows up in the same place! We highly recommend running various campaigns to encourage your users to post on their social media channels using your hashtag so that potential clients can see that user-generated content and fall in love with you, just like your current users have. This can be as simple as using your hashtag in your own posts, sending out an email asking people to do something specific and use #ABCD so your team can give a like or take it a step further and offer a small prize for the best user posts. All of this allows for a ripple effect of exposure you can’t get any other way.