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Hashtag Essentials: The how and why
Hashtags have been around since the late 1990s but it was only after 2007 that the trend exploded and became a fashion.
The new craze took the world by storm and everyone on social media is using them! From young teens on their Instagram posts to the largest multinational conglomerates for launching new products and campaigns. If used correctly hashtags can boost visibility and followers overnight. But if used incorrectly they can be damaging to your campaign by being punished by a platform’s algorithm.
How can Hashtags make you visible to others?
A hashtag is a word, some letters, or emojis preceded by the pound sign.
For example #sport or #outdoors.
Commonly used hashtags are categorized under their own subject and are viewed or followed by people who are interested in that topic. The more the topic is mentioned as a hashtag relating to a photo, the larger its community will grow.
Some people will use these communities to view posts that define the topic that they are interested in. This way they are seeing only posts about sport or only posts that show the outdoors. These hashtags can help new users find your brand. The more popular hashtags that you use will further your reach. A simple rule of thumb is to use no more than six. In this case, less is more!
By using defined hashtags in your posts these large communities will have access to your content. Some of the community hashtags can have millions of followers and they will be all directed to your post containing the relevant hashtag. They essentially work as calls to action by engaging new customers to interact with your brand.
Why use Hashtags?
They are a great way to increase your engagement with your followers by being a part of the online discussions and comments. By displaying your hashtags after your comments, you can create lots of interest around your posts and boost your brand which will also encourage likes, shares, and follows. This source of engagement will help you spread the word about your service or product.
- Optimizing for Discovery: Hashtags are basically another organic output for your content. If you optimize your hashtags and use phrases or keywords pertaining to your industry, you are more discoverable.
- Increasing Traffic: Once you’re easier to discover, you are more likely to see higher social media traffic. Hashtag searches are particularly popular on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Measuring Your Efforts: By using third-party social media management software like Sprout Social, you can track hashtags within your most important networks. Hashtag analytics gives you insights into what’s resonating with customers or what’s falling flat. Having the extra data could make all the difference.
- Cross Networking: A nice feature of hashtags is you can use them across channels. This will help your cross-channel promotions and make it easier to use hashtags for each major network.
What hashtags should I use?
Un-focused hashtags can across as spammy and unreliable. Algorithms can also flag you as suspicious if your hashtags don’t correspond to the content that you are displaying. If you get flagged your entire brand’s credibility can be discredited and no one will follow you.
There is a balance that can be followed in order to get the most out of your hashtags and still remain attractive and credible to new users. Using one of the top 100 best hashtags can help put your post in the eyes of millions of users. The next four hashtags under your post should describe what is displayed in the content itself. And the last hashtag should be your brand name.
Here are a few great examples of hashtags that have been used appropriately. The account users who have created these different types of content have made sure that the hashtags that they have used are attracting future clients and other users who have the same interests. They use a balance of specific hashtags and informative descriptions about the post to engage as much as possible with their viewers.
This list of top 10 hashtags can help you define you content and the users that you want to attract. Use them wisely!
- #love (1.7B posts)
- #instagood (1.1B posts)
- #photooftheday (763M posts)
- #beautiful (639M posts)
- #happy (564M posts)
- #picoftheday (551M posts)
- #photography (537M posts)
- #nature (494M posts)
- #instagram (439M posts)
- #food (376M posts)
It is important to understand the power of your hashtags and how many opportunities they could open up for you. Just remember to use them wisely and make sure they are appropriate to the content. If you would like further reading for more information, click on the links I have added below.
How to Create a Hashtag For Your Brand, Sprout Social
5 Reasons Why Instagram Hashtags Are Important, New Bird Design