What is a Hashtag and How to Use it in Social Media Marketing
What is a Hashtag?
hash·tag/ˈhaSHtaɡ/Learn to pronouncenoun
- a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic.
Hashtags are now a common symbol used in many social media posts. The Hashtag or number # when preceding a string of text creates a clickable search term. Hashtags were originally used on Twitter, but now are used on all social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIN.
Examples of common hashtags:
#love #beautiful #cute #TBT #Motivation #MotivationMonday #photooftheday #TGIF #MyTown #MyBusiness
A hashtag can be one word or a string of words (keyword or keyphrase). No spaces. Capitals are optional.
Why Use a Hashtag in a Social Media Post?
Social Media posts that use a hashtag statistically will get double the amount of engagement vs a post without. Especially on Twitter, and Instagram. So immediately by using hashtags you have a much higher chance of engagement.
Hashtags are an interactive and fun way to liven up the look of your post, and are commonly expected now in a good social media post.
Hashtags are highly SEARCHED and on Twitter and Instagram users actually follow hashtags – which creates an entirely new way of reaching more users especially ones you might not already be connected with.
Using hashtags can grow your audience and grow your reach.
How to Use a Hashtag in a Social Media Post
Hashtags are normally put into the body of a social media post after the text and either before or after the call to action. Sometimes hashtags can be strategically placed within the text – however use this practice carefully as it can make the text harder to read. Also the use of too many hashtags can deter users to engage. It is a careful balance.
I suggest using approximately 5 hashtags per social media post – unless you are working with Instagram which is more forgiving for allowing more hashtags. This is just a suggestion, using more or less is a personal choice based on the post and your strategy.
What Hashtags to use? There is no perfect formula for which hashtags to use with your post. I like to use hashtags that are relevant to my post, my audience and possibly my geographical location. You could have a set of hashtags you define for your business that you use on a regular and consistent basis. I like this strategy also.
Quick WIN! Create a hashtag for your business and use it in all social media posts. i.e. #DufferinMedia #SarahClarkeBiz
Quick WIN! If you are a business that services a specific geographical region use local hashtags in your posts i.e. #Orangeville #Toronto etc.
One last thing about Hashtags – BEWARE that some hashtags have actually been BANNED on Instagram, so if you are using Hashtags strategically as part of your growth strategy – keep your eyes open for hashtags that might be banned.