Ever see a (#) Hashtag (or several) various posts on different Social Media platforms and wonder why?
I’ve talked to friends who aren’t pro marketers online and they wonder about the value of using the #.
Some are even wondering how the “pound sign” suddenly became known as the “hashtag”
I’ll addressing some of the basic questions I hear about them here in this post.
What is a Hashtag?
Basically a Hashtag is a word or phrase that has a hash mark (#) right in front of it. Most of us that are wiser in year remember calling this the “pound sign.”
Hashtags (#) allow your content to show up whenever someone searches for that word (keyword) you used in your post.
The Search will organize posts and content accordingly. For example, #follow – and anyone looking to follow people, say on Instagram, will find you. On Instagram, a post has a life of about 3 hours where it stays near the top and can be seen. Hashtags are a way for social media users to tag their posts with keywords, which in turn make them easier for social networks to organize and users to search
How powerful is that?
Hashtags have become so common these days, people even use them outside of their intended purpose by adding them to text messages, chats, songs, and even advertisements.
Check out this funny spoof video to see what I mean
How Do I Know The Best #HASHTAG to use?
Easy. First, you use specific tags related to your niche, our product, and even your company. There are some other tools you can use as well to make knowing which ones are going to work best for you.
This tool will let you find what is trending and what is hot at the moment.
TOOL #2. TagsforLikes APP.
For example, you can find out how to use #follow4follow #follow, and more to get more Instagram followers
Where can I use Hashtags?
Believe it or not, there is a way to use them on just about every social network, if you know how.
Which Networks Support Hashtags?
Most networks use hashtags in the same basic way; to organize data and make it easier for user consumption. However, each network has a different tweak on how they use them.
Twitter: The network that brought us the hashtag is the most popular site to use it on. Just scrolling through my own feed I see that more than half of the tweets contain a hashtag. You can find the trending topics on the left hand side of your Twitter stream.
Facebook: Clicking a hashtag on Facebook will bring you to a separate page with posts that are visible to you based on the various users’ privacy settings. You’ll also see the different trending topics in the top right hand corner of your News Feed.
Instagram: Hashtagging on Instagram is great if you want to see photos similar to the ones that you’ve taken. Simply hashtag the picture you took and it will create a link to a page with other pictures of the same subject.
Google+: Google+ uses hashtags similar to the other sites, but with one main difference. Google+ will add hashtags to content if they think that it is a relevant and popular keyword. You can always opt-out of this through Google+ if you’d like.
Tumblr: When you’re creating a post on your Tumblr page, you’ll see an area at the bottom asking you to add “tags.” When you start to type a tag for your post, Tumblr will automatically add a hashtag to the front of it.
Pinterest: The main thing that you need to bear in mind when creating hashtags on Pinterest is that they’re only clickable in a Pin description. Also, hashtags aren’t searchable on Pinterest, so you’ll need to just search the keyword to find the content.
YouTube: Hashtag use within YouTube is most prevalent in the comments section. Users can leave comments with hashtags, which will then click through to a page with videos that contain that hashtag in their title.
Kickstarter: On Kickstarter, sorting by different hashtags can make it easier for you to find projects you’d be interested in investing in.
Vine: As a company owned by the creators of the hashtag, you’d better believe that Vine has included the functionality. As with other sites, adding a link to your Vine’s description will bring you to a page with Vine’s on the same topic. (source).
How Do I Use Hashtags?
Simple! You just put # in front of the keyword you want to use.
There are some tips and strategies to using these however.
1. Don’t over do it. 15-20 is sufficient and might even be too much. You can actually add up to 30, but this is not recommended.
2. Don’t put too many words together, especially if you want it to work for you. I have, on occasion, almost created a sentence but more for looks than actually search ability.
3. Be sure to use tags that are relevant to what you are posting. It will be tempting to add everything you can think of in hopes of being found for something and it has nothing to do with what you are posting.
Are Hashtags Good For Business?
You bet they are and there are some great strategies for using them with YOUR business.
There are varying schools of thought on how to use Hashtags as well as difference Social Media Platforms for your business. We each get to choose, for me personally, I believe people want to engage with real people and a sense of community and belonging and will become raving fans of a business because of its products, customer service, and general vibe of the company
Here is a piece of a great article I read about using Hashtags for your business :
Follow these five tips to improve your brand’s hashtag strategy.
1. Seek Business-Specific Conversations
If you use Twitter for nothing else, use it to learn from others. Head to hashtags like #SMB or#smallbiz for advice, resources and current news of the small business variety (also follow along during Twitter chats). Although broad hashtags like these can generate an overwhelming number of tweets every day, tune in every so often for a quick update. A couple of scrolls down the feed could inspire your next blog post, marketing tactic or bestseller.
If you seek a more specific conversation, narrow hashtags down by topic. The #marketinghashtag contains a ton of small business-related content, as does #sales. Or take a peek in the#startups or #entrepreneurs hashtag for inspirational profiles in the space. Finally, if you’re looking for tips on meeting like-minded businesspeople, try the #networking hashtag, where you’ll find information on meetups and advice on making connections.
2. Keep it Simple and Consistent
When crafting hashtags for your own tweets, it’s important to keep a couple rules of thumb in mind. First, keep your tags simple and direct. In a tweet about your latest blog post, which explains your company’s use of finance apps, don’t create a long, complex hashtag. Pair the tweet with hashtags like #apps and #SmallBiz, versus #SmallBusinessAppsandTools. Overly complicated hashtags like these are neither search-friendly nor commonly used, so your tweet will get buried quickly.
Secondly, don’t weigh your tweets down with excessive hashtags. If your intention is to be thorough, bravo. However, your thoroughness will be better served with a thoughtful, precise selection of 1-2 hashtags per tweet. Seven hashtags reads like desperate marketing, and is a sure way to lose followers quickly.
3. Create Your Own Hashtag
Brands both large and small choose to create their own hashtags for several reasons. Hashtags are a great way to generate buzz around a marketing campaign. Domino’s Pizza encouraged followers to tweet with #letsdolunch — once the number of tweets reached 85,000, Domino’s dropped prices by more than half during the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. that day.
Or turn to Twitter when launching a contest, another great marketing tactic for your brand. Simply ask people to tweet with a specific hashtag when they submit ideas, jokes or photos. That way, when the entry period is over, you’ll be able to easily locate submissions in one place.
Events are great opportunities for creating conversation around hashtags. Award your event a unique hashtag well before the actual date; you’ll be able to generate content and discussion about the event before it even begins. (For example, Mashable created the hashtag #MashBash for one of our largest events ever, at CES 2012.) Then during the event, encourage participants to tweet with that hashtag with signage and other hashtagged swag. People in attendance both physically and via the web then will be able to follow interesting activities and discussion.
Finally, get creative. Use hashtags for Twitter chats — invite an industry expert to answer tweeted questions from your brand’s followers. Or begin a game on Twitter using hashtags. For instance, ask people to tweet #PastTenseSitcoms, like “Family Mattered.” It’s a clever way to get people excited to connect with your hip, entertaining brand (we’d be remiss to not mention our own #Mashtags fun here).
4. Organize Social Dashboards by Hashtag
One of the most convenient ways to stay on top of relevant hashtags is to designate easily accessible columns within your social dashboard. Whether you use HootSuite or TweetDeck, you can establish columns by social network, search term, Twitter list or hashtag.
Consider adding a small business-themed hashtag column to check whenever you have a moment. Add further columns as they become relevant, for example, when you launch a hashtag marketing campaign or contest. Then delete the column when the hashtag has run its course.
5. Take Advantage of Follow Friday
In January 2009, Micah Baldwin announced on Twitter that he would suggest people to follow every week from then on. The Follow Friday trend soon took off with the hashtag #FollowFriday, but is now more commonly shortened to #FF.
The Follow Friday movement is still alive and well. And it’s a great excuse for your small business to join the conversation and get its name out there. (SOURCE)
I just recently tested #follow4follow #FollowFriday, and #F4F to see how this works. Connect with me on Instagram to see some new strategies I’m trying from some Hashtag training I’ve been getting.
Social Media is a constantly changing game with lots of different things you can do or try. If one thing doesn’t work for your target audience, no worries, try something else.
Let me know if you got some value from this post by leaving a comment below. (if you have a question post that too)
To your Success,