How to Use Hashtags for Social Media Posts

October 29, 2018
by Daniel Klein
From the user’s perspective, hashtags can help better categorize content. By using hashtags, it becomes much easier to discover new and relevant content. So, when you misuse hashtags, users will encounter inappropriate material, which will hurt customer experience and, ultimately, your brand. Hashtags are a reasonably common term nowadays, and it wouldn’t be too much to assume that most of us have a basic knowledge of what they are. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that everyone knows how and where to use hashtags properly. What is Hashtag?   Hashtags usually are in unmoderated forums or any other such types of ad hoc discussions. They are represented by the hash symbol (#) immediately followed by a string of characters. If enough people engage with a particular hashtag, it can be labeled as trending. It means that it stands high chances of attracting even more users into the discussion, kick-starting a chain reaction. Other than categorization, hashtags will play an essential role in increasing organic reach of your posts. To maximize their potential, you will have to use some of the best practices out there, which also differ from one social platform to another. It’s important to remember that a user or group of users don’t control any hashtag. Once a new hashtag has been created, it will always be there and can theoretically be used forever. Likewise, they can be used to represent more than just the thing they were created for, in the first place. And even if every social network displays posts under specific hashtags in their way, most of the rules that govern hashtags as a whole, remain more or less, the same across all channels. The Hashtag Strategy The best way to use hashtags in your social media marketing is to have a strategy. It’s important to remember that Tweets that contain hashtags see, on average, twice as much engagement. Nevertheless, always use hashtags that are relevant to the topic, otherwise, risk annoying your audience. It was also observed that if you are over-tagging (adding too many hashtags), that post will see a dip in engagement. The best engagement rates were with posts that had a maximum of two hashtags attached to them. Equally as important is to never string too many words together in a single hashtag; otherwise, it will become too hard to read, and people may not use it. In any case, whenever you use hashtags as part of a marketing strategy, make sure that the ones you use are specific to your target audience. As a general rule of thumb, the more targeted your audience is, the better you will engage with them. Branded Hashtags Aside from popular and relevant hashtags, you can also make use of branded hashtags. One such hashtag will be created specifically for your brand, but it doesn’t necessarily have to contain your brand’s name. Think of McDonald’s #ImLovinIt, or Red Bull’s #PutACanOnIt. These can also take the form of some call-to-action (CTA), a product name, or something else catchy, memorable, and unique. When creating your branded hashtags, try to be as specific as possible. Being too general may give off the impression that your message is too broad and people will not gravitate to it. Finally, when creating hashtags, be them branded or not, always triple check the spelling and make sure that it cannot interpret in a different way than what you intended. Depending on the circumstances, capitalizing the first letter of each word will make the hashtag more apparent to the user. Conclusion Even if each social network has its rules and guidelines, these hashtag basics will help you with your overall social media strategy. By using them, you will better engage with your audience and will increase the reach of your posts.

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