We’ve probably all at one point or another used hashtags. Whether that is on our own social profiles #SorryNotSorry or to sit alongside our brands social content. But do you really know how they work and the value of them to your marketing activity? And how do hashtags work on different platforms, does a LinkedIn hashtag work in the same way as an Instagram hashtag for example?

Let’s look at what they are, why they are important and how they work to add real value to the effort you have put into your content marketing strategy. Hashtags are the way to connect people with content. Grouping together the same topics, events or conversations. You should care about hashtags because it means you can take part in conversations happening all over the internet, allowing your posts greater organic (non-paid) social reach. Greater reach can equal greater engagement, boosting your brands profile, resulting in more business. Hashtags have proved to be vital for charities and social issues, raising awareness of key issues and making us all aware of where and how we can help. I think we can all agree that social media has made our world smaller and more connected, opening our eyes to things outside our own day to day lives. 

So hashtags. very important for marketing. How do you use them? As you can imagine there will be do’s, don’ts and general hashtag etiquette that would be worth knowing. 

Do:

Make it easy to remember — and spell. Don’t leave room for possible typos, which will make your posts undiscoverable
Be realistic. Don’t expect people to start using your brand slogan or other one-sided hashtags in their posts if it doesn’t fit naturally and there is no incentive for them to do so.
Do your research. Check and see what hashtags people are already using when talking about your brand and capitalise on those. Also, make sure to check if your desired hashtag is already being used. If so, ask yourself if it’s still relevant to your brand.
Give people a reason to use your hashtag. Whether it’s an actual prize or just recognition in the form of your hashtag your audience will respond better when it’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
Partner with influencers. Influencers can help gain exposure and visibility for your hashtag.

Don’t:

Expect your brand slogan to translate to a hashtag. A hashtag is meant to be inclusive, shareable, and discoverable. If it doesn’t organically fit within a post it’ll feel forced and lose its intended purpose.
Expect people to use your hashtag without a reason or incentive. The best hashtags can draw people in and invoke curiosity to explore and join in on the conversation.
Use all CAPS LOCK. Unless it’s an acronym, this feels like shouting and also adds unnecessary work.

Of course, the use of hashtags will vary per platform. On Instagram you can allow for up to 30 hashtags, many people leave these at the bottom of their post copy or even in the first comment which will attract people to your post and it definitely helps with aesthetics.

One of our favourite platforms for managing content and hashtags is Later and we found this all-encompassing guide to hashtags on IG which we highly recommend for further reading: https://later.com/blog/ultimate-guide-to-using-instagram-hashtags/

Twitter is generally a straight to the point platform, too many hashtags can look messy and like you are unsure on how to use the platform, so choose a branded hashtag and perhaps a related hashtag, or something else you’ve chosen strategically to get the most out of your organic content.

You can see what’s trending in your local area or country via Twitter trends, this might help you choose a hashtag to piggyback on but do be sensitive and socially aware when joining conversations onto hashtags that are representing sensitive topics, it won’t do your brand any favours. Find out more: https://help.twitter.com/en/using-twitter/twitter-trending-faqs

LinkedIn works similarly to Twitter, however, you can set up your own dashboard to monitor and manage the hashtags that you follow. When you create your post, you will also see some # suggestions underneath your copy, these are often very relevant to your content, so it is worth including these.

Another way to find real hashtags that people use is via groups, what are people using in the industry groups you follow? For example, #Freelancers or #DigitalMarketing, it is worth doing a bit of research on your own to come up with your very own hashtag strategy, but we will come onto that in more detail shortly. For more information on LinkedIn best practices, they have a handy guide on their website: https://help.linkedin.com/cc/custom_fattach/get/9635581/0/filename/LinkedIn%20Hashtag%20Best%20Practices%20Guide.pdf

Then last but not least Facebook. Do you remember at the beginning of this post I used #SorryNotSorry…well for some time the use of hashtags on FB were really to ‘state the unstated’ For example a person or brand might boast about something fun happening in the office on a Friday afternoon #LoveMyJob #TeamsThatPlayTogetherStayTogether I think you get the point, but now hashtags have seemingly made a comeback on Facebook. The platform shares stats on how many people are using certain hashtags and you can also connect any hashtags that you use on other platforms that are connected with your Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/formedia/blog/using-hashtags-on-facebook