Has the hashtag frenzy left you (like me) pondering #huh? Good news: I’ve learned it isn’t as cryptic as it sounds.
In fact, a hashtag is only a pound sign [#] placed in front of a word or cluster of words to help people find and share digital information on social media. While it’s easy to implement, it’s far more than a tagging function because adding a hashtag to a post creates a flow-through conversation opportunity where people can jump in and out with comments. Just remember to make word choices clear, since the words are all written without spacing — #ReadGlynnPatrick, for example.
To use a hashtag with a video or photo on instragram, upload it and then choose to add a filter. Type # followed by text or emoji in the Caption field (ex: #flower). If you want to add a hashtag to a post you’ve already uploaded, edit the caption or include your hashtag in a comment on your photo. A meme is a hashtag posting usually attached to a video or image that inspires people to comment, and memes often “go viral” or trend. There are many meme generators online.
That’s how easy it is to make or attach a hashtag to a word post or image, but what’s the benefit for business?
Twitter help you to connect with customers, post free marketing content, push out news about the business, give away coupon codes and promotions, and go viral (capture a wider audience). Twitter also is the original virtual home of hashtags and it has great tips for using them.
For example, it suggests three places to find popular hashtags – www.hashtags.org; www.twubs.com and www.tagdef.com. Consider especially 10 Hashtags Social Media Marketers Should Track provided by www.hashtags.org. Now Facebook, too, allows for clickable links in the form of hashtags. When you create a new hashtag, Facebook creates a page for that hashtag to expand the audience.
If Twitter is part of your marketing mix, tweets including hashtags receive twice the reader engagement as those without. The more engaging the hashtag conversation, the more “followers” it generates. The more clever, offbeat or funny (but still targeted), the more interest you’ll garner. Posting “Just had a Springtime Lager @ Pete’s Nest” followed by #PlacesIveDrankAlexisBrew might be a good hashtag, as one example, for a microbrewery. The hashtag invites additional comments as well as followers.
How is your hashtag found? People can do a Google search, or search on Twitter or other social media. Type the phrase in the search bar, such as #IdahoShipping. People then monitor it to view conversations that include it. The more popular the hashtag, the more it “trends”, meaning it has risen to the level of receiving national attention. Your hashtags may also benefit from referral traffic; if someone clicks a hashtag they like in someone’s tweet, Twitter automatically searches for the best tweets that also include that hashtag, which might be yours. www.Hashtags.org has a searchable hashtag archive and it tracks hashtag trends in real time. You might also consider TweetDeck or Hootsuite tracking help.
- #2is2Many: Don’t get hashtag happy and use the 30 you are allowed to tag onto a post. One is quite sufficient for most messages. In fact, there is a 17 percent decrease in engagement when tweets include more than two hashtags.
- #AnnoyingSpammerAlert: You enter a conversation about a trending auto race and post a comment saying it’s a good time to make a pit stop to try your company’s product. Uh, no.