Best Practices: Why and How to Use Hashtags on Social Media
Twitter made hashtags popular and now Facebook and other social media sites have greatly added to their popularity. Knowing why and how to use hashtags in social media posts is still a mystery for some.
Why to Use Hashtags on Social Media
- Social media users love them
- Hashtags can connect your brand to trending topics
- Can be used universally as a call to action for business, pleasure or social purposes
Hashtags are useful for organizing, analyzing and emphasizing content. You can use them to put tweets and other social media posts into categories by keyword. Doing this is easy by simply placing a # before the relevant keyword or phrase. (Examples: #QueenofLocalSEO #LocalSEO #SocialMedia)
On most social media sites, when you put the # in front of your keyword or phrase it becomes a hyperlink and when a user clicks on the hashtag it will show all other social media posts connected with it.
How Hashtags Can Help Your Business
Hashtags can help your business by keeping your data organized and by making it easier for users to access social media posts connected to your brand, the topics you discuss and the things you recommend.
Each social network has its own special way of displaying hashtags, which makes the experience unique to their social media platform. Using a hashtag on Instagram, for example, is ideal for businesses to connect with potential customers searching for pictures and products similar to what they have shared. Learn about using hashtags on Facebook.
Creating Your Own Unique Branded Hashtags
When creating your own branded hashtag be sure to not use too many different ones. This will be counter productive in branding the hashtag. Also, the more hashtags you brand, the harder it will be to get a momentum built around it.
It is also important to research the hashtag you are planning to brand before using it (the how is explained in more detail below). The last thing you want to do is start branding what you thought was your own unique hashtag, only to discover that hashtag is already connected to another brand or that it is associated with another product, post or idea that might be the opposite of what your company supports or believes.
You can test how your branding of your unique hashtag is working by searching on Google periodically to see if others are using the hashtag in connection with your brand or just you. (Go search my branded hashtag #QueenofLocalSEO and see what you find.)
Best Practices for Using Hashtags on Social Media
- Don’t use more than three hashtags per post on average (however, look at the best practices of the website, the recommended could be more or less)
- More than 8 hashtags in one post is perceived as hashtag spamming
- Use caution when using a hashtag on sites that don’t make them into hyperlinks like LinkedIn
As mentioned above, I recommend you research the usage and popularity of a hashtag before using it on sites like Hashtag.org and Twubs. This applies to whether you are creating your own unique branded hashtag or using a common hashtag like #LocalSEO. Another way to research the popularity is to run a search on the particular social networking site where you are going to use the hashtag and see what others are saying and sharing around it.
The idea behind using a hashtag is to connect your brand, product or service with others using the same hashtag or searching on it. If no one else is aware or using the hashtag it will not have the results you are hoping for.
To wrap up, when used effectively, hashtags can and will expand your digital footprint, increase your website traffic and marketing for your business.
Are you using hashtags in your social media posts? Has it increased your brand awareness and driven website traffic? Let’s discuss.