What was originally designed for Twitter, hashtags have exploded across multiple social media platforms, completely changing the landscape for reaching new audiences and sparking new conversations.
Social users search for specific hashtags to see what other people are saying about a topic that they’re interested in. Hashtags have created millions of niche little “communities,” if you will, for people to insert themselves into a conversation.
But, before you go crazy using hashtags all across your social pages—you should keep these three tips in mind...
Stay True to Your Brand
Creating new hashtags—and even using existing ones—leaves a lot of room for creativity. But, it is important to make sure you’re not steering off-brand. Before using a certain hashtag, do your research.
Type your hashtag into the search bar to see what people are saying, what topics are trending, and what the existing conversation already looks like. This will give you a better idea as to whether or not using this hashtag makes sense for your brand.
You’ll want to avoid hashtags that may have double meaning. Or, maybe another brand is already using the hashtag you had in mind to promote an entirely different campaign.
There are websites that can help make monitoring hashtags much easier, like ritetag.com, for example. They offer a “hashtag dictionary," which allows you to check the meaning of hashtags before you use them, which will save you from attracting the wrong audiences.
Know Your Audience
Think about your audience for a moment. Who are they? How old are they? What are their interests?
This will help when deciding the overall message you’re trying to convey. The more targeted your message is, the more engagement your posts will receive.
Don’t Go Overboard
The rule for the number of hashtags varies from platform to platform. On Facebook and Twitter, it's most effective to use only one to two relevant hashtags at most, according to Social Media Today. Whenever you use more than the recommended one or two hashtags on these platforms, you run the risk of making your posts look "spammy." Research shows that posts with one or two will see more engagement than posts that don't use any at all.
On the flip side, Instagram is a platform that encourages (borderline excessive) hashtag use—up to at least 30 per post! But, for optimal engagement, studies reveal that between 5 and 10 hashtags is best practice for this particular platform.
With all of this in mind, however, we recognize that the use of hashtags is constantly changing as the world of social media continues to evolve. This is a prime example of why it is important to stay on top of the latest tips and trends in social media—especially within your industry.