By this point, everyone is familiar with hashtags. They’re used for creating conversation on social media, we see them included on the news, in advertisements, in newspapers, and websites outside of social media to start conversations by millions of people each day. Learning how to use hashtags grants you access to this wide audience. So how exactly do they work? And how can you starting using hashtags to benefit your business?
The term ‘hashtag’ refers to any phrases that’s preceded by a hash mark, or pound symbol (#). It’s a way to tag posts with keywords so that users can easily search for them, and social networks can easily organize them. Using hashtags, you can see topics you have in common with other users and engage people in conversation that you might not otherwise meet on social media. They can be a great way to gain new followers and see different perspectives about various topics.
Where can I use Hashtags?
First, you have to make sure you’re using hashtags in the right places. If you try to incorporate them on a landing page or something that isn’t connected to social media, they won’t benefit you or involve you in any conversations. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Google+ all allow the use of hashtags, although they are also used on Tumblr, Pinterest, Youtube, Vine, Flickr, and many other social media networks.
Twitter is where hashtags originated back in 2007, and it remains the most popular place to use them. You can easily see trending topics and trending hashtags on the left side of the browser. On Twitter, hashtags are usually used for a broader topic or story, like #FortMac for the Fort McMurray fire.They’re used as a way to connect people who are talking about the same topic.
Facebook introduced hashtags a few years after Twitter. When you click a hashtag, you’re able to view all the posts that are related to this, depending on the user’s privacy settings.
Instagram is another hashtag giant. Using hashtags on Instagram is slightly different than on Twitter. Clicking the hashtags will show you similar photos of that grouping, but instead of hashtagging a topic or story, they will often be related to the subject of the photo itself or how you took it.
Google+ also takes advantages of hashtags to group topics together. However, Google+ will add hashtags to your posts if they’re popular and relevant – although you can turn this feature off if you want.
Hashtag Do’s and Don’t’s
Use trending hashtags in your tweets. You can see these on the left side of your browser window. They’re a great way to get involved in live conversation. People searching for these relevant and current topics will see your business and brand and you can engage some new followers as well.
Another thing you want to do is be relevant. Only use relevant hashtags in your tweets, otherwise you’ll look like you’re blatantly advertising something that’s unrelated to the topic at hand and you won’t engage many people in conversation.
Don’t use long hashtags that have too many words. People won’t search for long hashtags and they won’t use them because they take up too many characters. Furthermore, they can be difficult to understand. Take something like #besttelevisionincanada – this hashtag is confusing to read. Something like #CanadianTV or #TVinCanada is much more clear.
Don’t use punctuation, special characters, or spaces in your hashtag – this separates the phrase. Only letters and numbers can be used.
Don’t overtag. #No #one #likes #a #post #that #looks #like #this. It’s choppy, it’s difficult to read, and the hashtags are not specific enough to get involved in any real conversation. You need to make sure your hashtags are relevant for the conversations you want to be involved in. Two or three hashtags maximum per tweet is usually best.
Creating a Hashtag
For many businesses, creating your own hashtag is a great way to build your customer base. As your followers start to use it in conjunction with other hashtags or topics, a wider audience will get involved. Whenever people see your hashtag, they’ll think of your brand or products.
The trick to creating a hashtag is to make sure it isn’t too ambiguous, it can’t be misread, and it can’t be misinterpreted. If you can create a succinct and clear hashtag for your business, you can work on spreading it and widening your consumer base. Who knows, maybe your hashtag will even become a trending topic!
Learning how to use hashtags effectively, as well as social media in general, can be difficult to manage. If you need social media management help, contact VivosWeb today!
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