To #Hashtag Or Not…

To hashtag or not? I say yes, go for it! Don’t stress out about hashtags, they are meant to be fun, clever and helpful. People use the # sign then add a keyword or phrase after it that relates to their post. This then connects that post to any other post using the same # on that social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc).

Let’s start with the example of you being a big cycling enthusiast, then any time you post about a great ride, working on your bike or any related post, hashtag something cycling related. For exmpale, using #cycling would connect your post with any other person using the same hashtag. In a sense it’s plugging you into that community. You can use the hashtag anywhere in the post: “Just went for a great ride on the Riverside trail! #cycling” or “#Cycling is life”. Either way works! Now that’s an easy way to incorporate hashtags in to your personal posts but let’s talk business…

In tweeting about a campaign or conference or any subject that is important to you, pick a relatable keyword or phrase and use that hashtag every time. Then all your posts will be linked to each other. For example, if you are promoting a conference, let’s make up: SolarPower International 2014 in Tulsa, you’d want to hashtag every post about this conference with the same hashtag. So a good one would be #SolarPower2014: “Don’t forget to register for #SolarPower2014!”. But, maybe you want to add another hashtag that’s a little less formal for some of the fun stuff like #SolarFun or #SunnyFriend or #SolarTakesTulsa: “Can’t wait for drinks at #SolarPower2014 this year! #SolarTakesTulsa”. 

Or if you are a small business that focuses on customers, you could hashtag deals or promotions to promote your business. For example, let’s make up a boutique name: Unique Boutique…a good hashtag would be #UniqueBoutique: “So excited for all the new Spring fashion that just arrived at #UniqueBoutique!” And if Unique Boutique had a big sale coming up, you could use hashtags like #sale or #bargain. But if you do that, those hashtags will connect with any other post that uses #sale or #bargain, so don’t be afraid to make your hashtag original to your company like #UniqueSale or #UniqueBargain: “We are marking down everything for our Memorial Day Sale! #UniqueBargain”.

There are even websites where you can go type in your hashtag and see if it’s being used and how it’s being used. If you work to make original, simple hashtags specific to you, most likely they won’t be in use. Some good sites are http://www.hashtags.org/ or https://tagboard.com/

Yes, some people go a bit crazy with extremely long hashtags or way too many hashtags…but I think the best practice is keep it simple. Note do not use any punctuation or symbols in hashtags, letter/number characters only.

If you are still unsure about using hashtags, don’t be afraid to research a little. There is a huge wealth of knowledge out there on the subject. I recently read an article that gave some great insight: http://blog.bufferapp.com/a-scientific-guide-to-hashtags-which-ones-work-when-and-how-many. The gist is that hashtag usage is a boost on Twitter and Instagram but not so on Facebook. And the other key takeaway from the article is that posts on Twitter with hashtags get TWO TIMES MORE engagement than those without. But don’t go too crazy! Posts with 1 or 2 hashtags fare much better than those with 3 or more.

So there you have it, a little insight in to #hashtags. Just have fun with them, keep them simple and consistent!
Stay tuned for more How To’s on social media…