Quick Reference Guide to Hashtags and Social Media
Hashtags have become synonymous with social media. But apart from their “buzzword” status, hashtags can be a powerful tool to help drive social media campaigns and gain visibility.
Hashtags were first used when Twitter launched in 2006, as a filing and keyword system. They were used as a mechanism to filter specific conversations, trends and to allow users to find and join relevant conversations happening around a specific hashtag. This idea spread from Twitter onto networks including Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Vine, Pinterest, Instagram and others. As it started on Twitter, hashtags are used like keywords, tagging content with relevant tags to join trending topics, conversations or to draw in users searching for those tags. When used properly, hashtags can create a sense of community and authority for audience members and brands respectively.
Here are some critical tips to using hashtags:
1. Know What You Can Include
Not everything can go in your hashtag. Numbers and letters are supported, but not spaces or punctuation. For a post that you want to include Happy Friday, your can can include #HappyFriday but not #Happy Friday. Everything included after the space will not be included in the hashtag. It is also important to note that capitalization doesn’t affect a tag, #HappyFriday will yield the same results as #happyfriday, but stylistically, using capitals helps distinguish words in phrases.
2. Keep Up With Current Tends
Once a keyword or phrase is paired with a (#), it becomes searchable across social media platforms that support hashtags. Find out what the trends are for current topics. Events like the Winter Olympics (#Sochi2014) and the Academy Awards (#Oscars) has their own major hashtags that users would use to join in conversations and access live updates. Check out what other brands and competitors are using to find trends and common hashtags to include when you plan your social media strategy and content. For example, a big trend on Twitter is to thank new followers or those who engaged with your content on Fridays with the hashtag #FF or #FollowFriday. This is used to make members of your community feel special and more likely to keep coming back to read and engage with your content in the future.
3. Create Unique Hashtags For Your Brand
Any word or phrase can easily become a hashtag. Create a couple tags for your brand and product to use in certain posts and encourage users to use them as well when talking about your brand.Because hashtags are searchable, users can easily look up those tags to find relevant posts about your brand. A special hashtag can also be applied to a specific campaign, live event or contests your brand hosts.
4. Use Sparingly
Although hashtags can be a powerful tool, overusing them can have a severe backlash. Too many hashtags can be overwhelming and confusing to viewers and can be seen as spam and cause fans to unlike or unfollow your profiles. Make hashtags relevant and choose only one or two to use in an update at a time.
5. Add Tone and Humor
With the evolution of the hashtag, its usage has also evolved. Many users will add a hashtag to add a context, voice, humor and tone to their updates. Pair your post with hashtag that adds an extra meaning or afterthought such as #TGIF #JK or similar.
6. Know What’s Trending
There are hundreds of thousands of hashtags flying around social media at any one time, how do you know which ones to include? Use tools like Tag Def, Hashtag.org and Rite Tag to find new and relevant tags to get your content noticed and join trending conversations happening in social media now.
How and where are you using hashtags on your social media? Leave us a comment below or tweet us @ExcelerateM!
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