If you're marketing your business on social media you've probably heard friends or colleagues say, "do you use hashtags, you should it will really help". In the back of your mind, you think cool, but what the hell are those and how do they help me exactly?
So, what are hashtags?
Put simply they are a word or phrase that is followed by a hash mark (#), used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest. The first originated in 2007 on twitter, as a way of grouping content together. This means it makes it easier to discover new or related articles and insights.
Where would I see hashtags if I used on them on social media?
Whenever a user adds a hashtag to their social media posts, it’s able to be indexed by the social network and becomes searchable/discoverable by other users (as long as their account is public). Once someone clicks on that hashtag, they’ll be brought to a page that aggregates all of the posts with the same hashtags, in real-time.
How do I use a hashtag?
Almost 75% of people on social media use hashtags (RadiumOne), although my experience of working with small businesses would say that might be using a hashtag but they aren't sure how to use them.
So if your one of those businesses, here is a quick tip list:
- Put the hash at the start of the word you want to categorize. #hashtag
- Don't go crazy with the hashtag by #hashtagging #every #single #word.
- Use hashtags that are relevant topic. Content and hashtags that aren't relevant won't help you and in fact just annoys people.
- Don't string too many words together with a single hashtag, it gets very tricky to read #puttingitalltogetherwontwork
- Be aware that if you use a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag can find your post.
- Interact - look at the hashtags that are relevant to your business, and start speaking to people (like you would in the real world!)
- Think about a branded hashtag, this doesn't have to contain your brand name. For instance McDonalds might have #bigmac or related to a term that relates directly to their brand #ImLovinIt
Not sure what hashtags to use?
There's lots of free resources to use.
- First and foremost think about the keywords that your business wants to ranking on. This is called keyword research. These terms should be used not only in your website for SEO, but you can use these are your keywords on your social media too.
- Sprout Social, Hashtagify.me are hashtag analysis tools that can help you find out numeric data on hashtag use.
What did you think of the article? Any questions write in the comments blog below.
And lastly, and yes this is a plug! If you need help with your social media strategy or your keyword research, then please feel free to contact me.