In 2018 hashtags are everyone and most people use them in their social media posts. You see them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, events, commercials, etc. So, the question that comes up all the time is why is a hashtag so important and should I be using them?
Why hashtags are important
In 2007, Twitter released the # sign in front of words or phrases to create groups that you could search for. Then in 2009, Twitter looked at their data from users and updated the platform, hyperlinking all hashtags in tweets. This means that people can search by hashtags and see all of tweets that ever included it. It connects people and groups that are interested in the same thing. This is incredibly valuable for a small business because it can expose your content to a wider audience, and helps your business get found by new potential customers. If someone searches for a hashtag, say on Instagram, that you used your post — and even your profile — can be found. Since hashtags are usually semi-specifically people searching for a hashtag that you used brings you an audience that is already pre-qualified with a common interest. Now, in 2018, all social media networks hyperlink hashtags (including Linkedin who brought the practice back, kind of)! Making social platforms not just for the people that follow you but for the people that follow your hashtags as well.
How should I use hashtags?
Use hashtags on all social networks you have a presence on is a good place to start. That way all of your content is connected. However, there is no need to go overboard! In fact, according to our #SMSsummit San Francisco media partner, Buffer, when you use more than two hashtags, your engagement actually drops by an average of 17 percent. So be careful when using crazy hashtags that don’t apply to your business. Try to stick to using hashtags that apply to your business and the industry and avoid at all costs #turninghashtagsintoafullsentence. No one will be able to tell when you are saying and usually won’t be searchable so you won’t reach a new audience.
How not to use a hashtag
Too many hashtags look spammy and pulls away from captions and content. On Twitter specifically, research has shown that engagement drops when a tweet has two or more hashtags. Instagram is a different story for hashtag. Use as many that apply to you as you can – we like to comment with them below our caption so that we don’t take away from creative captions.
Extra Tip: Do a search for the hashtag you want to use before you use it. You never know what people may be using hashtags to discuss. You wouldn’t want to accidentally connect your business to a negative, controversial or embarrassing topic.
How do I start doing it today?
Write your social posts the way you always have, but make one or two keywords that you want to be the focus into a hashtag. If you are looking to reach a completely new audience and want to try out some new hashtags that are related to your keywords try these tools to help you find ones that can work for you!
Find personal hashtags that can work for your industry specifically on your twitter account. It shows analytics and trending hashtags and can also show you the most powerful influencers using the hashtag.
A tool that offers up-to-date usage data to show you how hashtags are performing in the real world and in real time.
Hashtagify.me is another great tool for finding trending hashtags on Twitter. Plus, it also has an option to get email updates on trending hashtags as well.
So, take a leap into the hashtag world and Include one or two hashtags in your next social post and see if you get noticed. My bet is you will. Do some research with these tools and grow your audience today! Let us know what hashtags work the best for you and if you have any awesome tools that your business uses to find new hashtags below. We would love to hear from you.
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