What is a hashtag?
According to Wikipedia: A hashtag is a type of metadata tag used on social networks, allowing users to apply dynamic, user-generated tagging which makes it possible for others to easily find messages with a specific theme or content.
Hashtags allow content to be organised and found. On Twitter, if you wanted to join in the conversation about a programme you would include the hashtag for that programme. For example #XFactor
When used correctly, hashtags are an effective way to be discovered by a new audience to help you grow on social media.
Consider the following when choosing your hashtags:
1. Research into how many people are using that hashtag. Don’t always go for the most popular otherwise you’ll only be seen on that page for the hashtags for a millisecond.
2. Use a mix of popular and not so popular hashtags. You’ll appear on less popular collections for longer.
3. Engage with other accounts and posts who the same hashtags. Algorithms love people to be social on social and you may find new and interesting accounts that inspire you.
4. Use software that can help you find new hashtags such as www.hashtagify.me – they’re offering a free 7-day trial.
5. Get involved in weekly hashtags to help generate your own content and get involved in conversations such as #MondayMotivation #WednesdayWisdom #FollowFriday
6. Create your own hashtag. This can be a powerful way to generate and buzz, exposure and loyalty if you can motivate others to use your hashtag too.
7. Have a play with using hashtags to help give context to your words and to offer a bit of humour.
8. Use the allowance of 30 hashtags you’ve been given on Instagram. Some people prefer to hide the hashtags in the first comment. Some include them underneath their post. There is no proven right or wrong way. It’s about testing and personal preference to you. I personally include the hashtags in the post separated by 5 dots vertically underneath so that they are distanced from my post. It looks visually more appealing to me that way and I’m saving time by not having to cut and paste onto a new comment. I can auto-schedule PLUS it means I save a few seconds which could be important in appearing under the ‘Top’ section for longer which gives more chance to be spotted.
9. Use hashtags in stories on Instagram. If you think they clutter up your story then shrink them by squeezing the text together to shrink them. I use 2-3 per story, some use 10. Your story may then appear on that hashtag’s story and reach a new audience.
1. Use spaces in your hashtags. If you need to use multiple words, group them together.
2. Just use cap locks. It feels like shouting unless it’s an acronym.
3. Spam or overuse hashtags on Twitter or Facebook 1-3 per post is enough. Especially as you have a limited amount of characters to use on Twitter.
4. Have too lengthy a hashtag to use with your brand and don’t expect your slogan to translate to a hashtag. It needs to be shareable and if your current slogan doesn’t fit, think of a new way that it could.
5. Assume that your hashtag will just get used by others. Start by offering a competition including this hashtag which others may retweet or regram. Give people a reason to use your hashtag.
Should I use hashtags on Facebook?
Facebook introduced the use of Hashtags in 2013 but they aren’t used as much as on Twitter or Instagram even though clicking on them will take you to a list of posts containing the same hashtag. It’s worth including a 2 or 3 in a post and testing to see what works for you.
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