If you frequent Instagram or Twitter these days, you may have noticed the long string of words at the end of each post with the pound sign (#) in front of them. In social media speak, these tagged words became known as hashtags, and they play a huge role in the success of your social media platform. Hashtags are exactly what they sound like they are – they are a tag that identifies a social media post with a category, topic, event, theme, or conversation. In most social media platforms, hashtags are searchable, and people will search hashtags based on their interaction with a specific topic. Here are some ways that hashtagging your posts can benefit your business.
Increased engagement with followers
By using hashtags in your posts, you are entering a conversation occurring within the larger social media platform and community. The hashtag is what makes your posts – and therefore your content contribution – visible to others engaging in the conversation. By engaging with the conversation, you drive traffic to your content and raise the likelihood of followers on your social media account. This leads to the next phase of hashtag development:
Brand building and recognition
Naturally, you want your brand recognizable among a wide pool of people. Hashtags can build brand awareness by driving engagement to your business social media accounts. One way to do this is to create branded hashtags that call back specifically to your business and brand. As your followers increase, the likelihood of them also using your branded hashtag increases, and the more your branded hashtag is used, the more traffic is generated.
Which platforms are best for hashtags
Believe it or not, some platforms synergize well with hashtags while others do not. Facebook is notoriously unfriendly towards hashtags, simply because most Facebook users rarely use hashtags when they search (the irony is that Facebook was the platform that introduced hashtagging to the public!). Add hashtags to your Facebook posts, and your friends may find them irritating. LinkedIn is also not friendly towards hashtags and, in fact, does not support searching with hashtags at all.
Hashtags work extremely well on Twitter as they encourage users to interact with each other on the same topics.Think of Twitter as an on-going conversation when you use hashtags. For brand building, Instagram is the queen of hashtagging. Hashtagging your Instagram posts will allow you to engage with your target audience in a meaningful way. An additional benefit to hashtagging on Instagram is that they increase the likelihood of your brand being discovered by new people. The more specific your hashtags on Instagram, the more likely your audience will expand. The general rule of thumb is to avoid generic hashtags in favor of more targeted, specific words. How do you find those words? Start searching for related brands in your business to see what words they are using, and then jump in on the fun!
Do you have further questions about using hashtags? Set up a consultation with me to get started developing your social media branding!