Hashtag this, hashtag that...but what IS a hashtag exactly and what purpose does it serve?
A Hashtag turns topics and phrases into clickable, searchable links.
Hashtags help you:
-Expand your reach to people interested in specific topics.
-Amplify your brand, i.e. #MakeItHappy (Coca-Cola).
-Promote specials and events by creating a specific hashtag.
-Capture new fans and potential fans by reaching out to like-minded individuals (i.e. #socialmedia)
Tips for using Hashtags:
-Do not overdo hashtags - use them for a specific purpose and not in every post.
-Hashtags must be all one word.
-Capitalization does not matter and numbers cannot be hashtagged.
-Research your hashtag before you use it (hashtracking.com is a great site for this).
-Encourage users to tag their posts with your post/promotion-specific hashtag to increase reach.
Hashtags on Twitter:
Twitter is the social media platform that started using the hashtag as a sorting feature.
You'll see hashtags used on most tweets, especially from brands and businesses. Why? Tweets with a hashtag get double the engagement!
Use 1-2 hashtags per tweet (after 2 hashtags engagement tends to drop).
Hashtags on Instagram:
Hashtags rule content strategy on Instagram. The platform limits you to 30 (!!) hashtags per picture, and posts with 11 or more get the highest engagement.
Expert Tip: If you have your Instagram set to auto-post to another platform (more on that in a later blog) - use only 1-3 hashtags on your original post, then more in a subsequent comment.
Hashtags on Facebook:
Facebook is the newcomer to the hashtag world, and they don't quite get it right. Since hashtags are for searching and sorting by topic, and Facebook allows a multitude of privacy settings, it just doesn't function well. I don't use hashtags on Facebook at all.
Hashtags on Google+:
Hashtags on Google+ function as well as on Twitter and Instagram. You can even search for G+ posts by hashtag, using a simple Google search. You can also add hashtags in your comments as well as posts.
For savvy marketers, G+ "related hashtags" offers a way to discover interest level and new content ideas.
Google+ has launched its "collections" feature as an answer to Pinterest. Read more about that here. I can only see this leading to hashtags being even more functional on this platform.
Hashtags on Pinterest:
Pinterest is not quite on their hashtag game. Hashtags are only clickable in the Pin description and I suggest you only use 2-3 to help with branding and search.
Hashtags are definitely here to stay. In a world where content clutter is served by the eye-full, they offer a strategic way to see what's relevant to you and a concise method for marketers to target their audience.
Have no idea where to start with your hashtags? Tweet me @carachace and I'll give you a few specific to your business!