How, Why And Where To Use #HashTags On Social Media

A hashtag is a keyword phrase, spelled out without spaces, with a pound sign (#) in front of it.  Originally used on Twitter, they are now common on all social media networks (and in conversation!).

How?

You basically put them anywhere in your social media posts so that anyone searching for a particular hashtag will be presented with all of the social media conversations from anyone on that subject (as long as they are public posts).  You can also put them in the ‘about’ sections of your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest accounts.

A good hashtag is memorable, unique and relevant to the content that you are sharing.  Don’t make it too long (especially when used on Twitter), and Capitalise the first letter of each of the words within it so that it is easier to read.

You shouldn’t overcrowd all of your posts with hashtags, but simply use them where appropriate and where they will genuinely assist in your goal.  They are often used to link particular popular days (e.g. #tbt – throw back Thursday or #MotivationMonday), talk about events (e.g. #Budget2016) or to get more interaction you’re your work (e.g. #PhotoOfTheDay, #business, #marketing).

Why?

When properly used, hashtags provide a great way for individuals and their brands to become more ‘seen’ to a wider audience, and get you known to other people interested in the same subject matter.

Knowing the popular hashtags for your particular field of expertise or products can help you to be elevated in status across a wider area of social media.

You can develop your brand by keeping hashtags consistent so that your viewers can find your content, so ensure that you create a hashtag that fits your brand totally.  You can also run promotions based around your hashtag, for example, giving free things away or creating a daily/weekly/monthly campaign using the hashtag.

Where?

Hashtags are used slightly differently within Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to tie the conversations of different users into one stream.  This means that if users who aren’t connected to each other talk about the same topic by using a particular hashtag, then their posts will appear in the same stream.

Instagram hashtags are often more geared toward topics or descriptions whereas Twitter hashtags tend to be more focused on a topic or conversation. Get familiar with how your specific audience uses hashtags on their networks, and participate in the conversation accordingly.

Twitter

When using Twitter, if you want to join in a conversation on a topic, simply use that hashtag within a post, so anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your tweet online.  Popular hashtagged words often become trending topics, those topics that so many people are talking about that they become a trend.  So, if you want to get noticed, and you have information relating to those hashtags, add them in.

You can also promote your events or a product or your business itself by creating a hashtag that will be used every single time you write about it, and you can also create a Twitter Chat, which are live Q&A sessions using a hashtag to link them.

Stick to one or two hashtags per post as using 3 or more per message has been shown to lower engagement.

Facebook

The hashtags you can search for on Facebook tend to be published by businesses, brands and publishers rather than by individuals. So, just publish a post including the hashtag.  The post must be public to be seen or found.  Hashtags used on Facebook do not help boost engagement on. You are better off leaving hashtags off entirely but they do work best when a hashtag is already viral.  If you do use them, one to two will get the most interactions.

Instagram

Simply write your post beneath your image including hashtags in place of certain chosen words, or place them at the end of the information you want to post.  Instagram suggests hashtags for you based on their popularity so when you write a new post and start typing in a hashtag using the # symbol, Instagram will actually suggest hashtags to you based on their popularity. Photos with 11+ hashtags seem to get the most interactions but don’t go too wild or you could be seen as spamming.

Google+

Google+ automatically assigns hashtags to your posts plus you can edit them and add your own (2–3 hashtags is good).

Flickr

Hashtags don’t make much difference on Flickr and are simply used to help as a categorical too so may not help you to find new followers.  Stick to 2-3 per image.

Pinterest

Pinterest hashtags lead to search results for the keyword in your hashtags. Use 2–3 per Pin.

Can you use hashtags anywhere else?

You can use them on your flyers, posters, basically in real life situation that are seen in public frequently if it will help you be found online and keep you noticed.

Put the hashtag in the signature line of your email and on your website.  Make window decals and stickers for your computers.