Hashtags are an important part of social media, and have been increasing in popularity just in every day life. Despite them popping up just about everywhere (even in text messages: “Just ran into my ex-boyfriend at Starbucks #awkward”), understanding what hashtags are and how to use them is perplexing to many.
Traditionally, hashtags started on Twitter as a way to categorize conversations. A hashtag like #PresidentialElection would allow everyone using that same hashtag to see what all was being said about that topic on the Twittersphere. On Instagram, a popular hashtag is #OOTD, Outfit of the Day, allowing everyone to see a common feed of everyone and the outfits they wore as a source of fashion inspiration. Today, hashtags have become so popular, that they have even become a part of pop culture.
Some might argue that #hashtags are becoming too big; to the point where it is dumbing down the way people interact with one another. Regardless, hashtags are not going away any time soon. So you might as well just embrace the madness!
Here are a few tips to make sure you are utilizing hashtags properly, in order to gain the most out of your social media experience:
1. No clutter
My teacher taught the “KISS” method: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Don’t bombard your followers with 15 different hashtags. For example, on Instagram, if your hashtags start to accumulate to the point where it looks like the caption itself, get rid of them. Stick to a good 3-5 relevant hashtags.
2. Research Discussion
Make sure that your hashtags are related to your personal or professional brand. Do your research! Read what your customers are saying, what hashtags they are using and how they are using it. If there is bad press floating around a certain hashtag, steer clear! Also, refer to your competitors and see what hashtags they are finding relevant. See what the conversation is around that hashtag. Tagboard.com is a great place to see the different conversations on various social media platforms around any hashtag you search.
3. Own it!
Also using Tagboard.com or TWUBS.com, you can “own” a certain hashtag. This is great if you have an event coming up that you want to build awareness for, or a weekly online discussion,, or even news, special updates or a contest. Whatever the case may be, owning a hashtag allows you to create a community around your brand.
Know where to put your hashtags. The most successful places for hashtags are Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Although Facebook has started to recognize hashtags, there is still no clear place for it yet. Also, LinkedIn is another place you wouldn’t want to add hashtags- Keep your professionalism.
Hashtags aren’t going away, so might as well know how to make it work in your favor.