If you don’t tend to use hashtags, scrolling through any social media feed #can #be #overwhelming. So many brands are utilizing hashtags to expand their reach, but figuring out when and how to properly wield that mighty # is sometimes unclear. What should you mention? Who should you mention? What in the world does #instagood mean? What other crazy hashtag jargon is floating around out there? Not to worry: here are a few tips to help you make hashtags your new #bffs.
Quick Refresher: Hashtags 101
We all know what #hashtagslooklike, but if you’ve never used them, their function can be unclear. (And if you know how to use ‘em, great! Hop down to the next section.) On social media, hashtags act as a kind of filing system for certain topics. People tag their posts with hashtags, which sort content into designated “files.” These files include all posts with that particular hashtag. Some hashtags have millions of posts, while others…are a bit more specific.
Getting familiar with hashtags
So how can you make hashtags work for your brand? First, do some research. Figure out what’s trending in your niche, even if it means spending a half hour searching for various iterations of #mensfashion. Seriously: #mensfashion and #menstyle may be super similar terms, but as hashtags they both have separate-but-hefty traction. It may be painstaking, but come up with every word combination you can to describe your brand, see how the hashtags are doing on social and make a list of the ones that are sticking.
mensfashion and #menstyle may be super similar terms, but as hashtags they both have separate-but-hefty traction.
Additionally, some random-sounding tags (like #instagood) may actually be trending topics that will get your post out to thousands of eyeballs. Dig around and see what hashtags other brands are using. Other #mensfashion posts may also have that secret, weird-sounding tag that will get you lots of attention.
Be selective about your hashtag selections
Now that you have that list, it may be tempting to just slap all the hashtags on each post you make. Not so fast! While hashtags are great for brand visibility, they can also clutter up your posts. Additionally, you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard. Here are tips for hashtag use on some of the bigger platforms out there.
Twitter: You’ve only got 150 characters, so make ‘em count. If you’ve got something great to say that doesn’t leave any room for hashtags, that’s fine! Don’t sacrifice good content for exposure tactics. When you are able to squeeze in a hashtag, keep it short and sweet. Find one or two that perform well and will get your point across without weighing down your tweet. Also, don’t be afraid to try and get clever, as JetBlue demonstrates well:
Instagram: Here’s where you can kind of go to town with hashtags. Right now, Instagram has a 2200 character limit, which leaves plenty of room for all the # you want. And not only can you really pack the tags in there, but IG also has a sneaky way of letting you hide them:
Facebook: FB isn’t exactly a big player in the hashtag game, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to your advantage. While it doesn’t have the character limit of Twitter, there’s also no clever way to hide your tags, like on IG. Keep Facebook hashtags thoughtful, relevant and somewhat brief.
Creating a hashtag for your brand
If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can create your own hashtag campaign for your brand. This works great if you’re running a contest, or if you want people to interact more with your social channel. For example, #TacoBellWedding isn’t exactly a numbers-driving phrase, but the chain has made it into a fun social tag where people who have had Taco Bell at their wedding can submit photos. (And make everyone else jealous.)
It comes down to common sense.
There are no set hashtags you have to use on any given post, and there’s certainly no rulebook for the Dos and Don’ts of hashtag usage. If you’re feeling uncertain, just stick with good ol’ common sense. What are the first few words that come to mind when you look at the post you’re about to make? Chances are, they’re the same words that first come to mind for everyone else looking up that topic. Stay on brand and stay savvy, but don’t lose valuable time debating on whether or not to put #sunflowers on that pretty sunflower photo you just posted. Just do it! Play around with when and how you use hashtags, and pretty soon you’ll be a #pro.
Do you have any tips for using hashtags? Let us know in the comments!