Hashtags are an integral to the way we communicate online, and it’s important to know how to use them.
Tonight Show Hashtags: #AwkwardBreakup
On Twitter, the pound sign (or hash) turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link. This allows you to sort content and track discussion topics based on those keywords. So, if you wanted to post about the hit Australian Show “Wonderland” which screens Wednesday nights on Channel Ten, you would include #Wonderland #WonderlandWednesday and #WonderlandTen in your tweet to join the conversation. Click on a hashtag to see all the posts that mention the subject in real time.
When creating your own, be aware that overly complex hashtags are not search-friendly. You can hashtag numbers on Twitter but they should be built into the hashtag, you can’t just hashtag #2014 as it wouldn’t work. #EWebMarketing however, would. Some special characters (spaces and punctuation) cannot be used in a hashtag, i.e. #E-Web Marketing could not be used.
Test the effectiveness of your hashtag by seeing what’s already out there, otherwise it could all go horribly wrong. It’s fairly likely that whatever hashtag you choose will occasionally be interrupted by a random unengaged user talking about something totally different, however choosing a unique, relevant, hashtag for your brand ensures the spotlight remains on your business for the right reasons.
There are plenty of tools that can help you schedule Tweets for when nobody is about to chat to your consumers such as Hootsuite, but be sensitive to when your campaign will have the most impact. A tweet that contains only hashtags is not only confusing — it’s boring. If your tweet simply reads, “#happy,” your followers will have no idea what you’re talking about. Similarly, if you tweet, “#Wonderland is #wicked,” you’re not really adding much to the conversation.
Hashtags are all about connecting and creating conversation. Nurture engagement and boost awareness by making sure people can use your hashtag organically. It’s all about making sure you have a trending hashtag. This social media campaign from the White House allows users to tweet their personal stories about the security and peace of mind that comes as a result of securing health insurance. For a visual element, they also added a Storify slideshow to the page.
Behaving like a spammer will only attract spammers – make sure your hashtags are appropriate and relevant. Hashtagging trending topics to irrelevant Tweets to draw attention to yourself is bad, spamming the Twitterverse with the same hashtag but adding no value is bad, Tweeting about everything trending to drive traffic to yourself is bad. Engaging in bad Twitter habits could lead to a suspended profile and doesn’t provide a meaningful boost in your brand awareness.
Hashtags, like links, look like spam if they are used too often. Three hashtags should be the maximum on Twitter and Facebook, but you can get away with more hashtags on Instagram and Vine. And don’t hashtag the same word twice (“#StarWars is a great movie! Everybody go see #StarWars”).
Follow trends: See what hashtags are trending and make use of them — if they are relevant to your business. Using a popular hashtag that has nothing to do with your brand makes you look like a spammer and will hurt your credibility.
Facebook: Facebook added hashtag support in June 2013, and the practice has not picked up much steam. Nevertheless, clicking on Facebook hashtags will take you to a list of posts containing the same hashtag. The results are not limited to people you know.
Instagram: Hashtags can be used to complement photos shared on Instagram and help you discover new accounts and pick up followers. Some hashtags were created specifically for Instagram photo challenges — #ThrowbackThursday, for example, encourages users to post retro photos.
Google+: When you click on a hashtag in Google+, the search results will include the original hashtag as well as posts with similar tags and keywords. Google search results display on the left side of the page, while hashtag results from within Google+ appear on the right. Google also gives you the option to search within Facebook or Twitter.
Pinterest: Use Pinterest hashtags to mark and search for content. Click on the hashtag in a pin description to navigate results that contain the exact hashtag, plus pins with the same word or phrase in the description.
All in all, hashtag campaigns should play a crucial role in your social media marketing strategy. Do you have hashtags of your own that became a trending hashtag and worked well for your business? Share them, we’d love to hear more.