How to use hashtags (#and #how #not #to)

 In Business, Facebook, Marketing

Most Twitter are familiar with using hashtags to kick off, follow, take part in and amplify trending conversations and topics.  But as the use of the hashtag becomes more universal, with Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Google+ now also using it to link both images and information, it’s important for brands and social media managers administrators to know how to use hashtags (and how not to), to benefit your business and your brand.

One of the biggest benefits of using hashtags well is that you can join or open up conversations with people who are not in your existing circles or networks, thus reaching a far broader audience. 

So let’s take a look at a few tips on hashtag etiquette.

how to #hashtagJoin existing conversations

Think about topics, brands, products or events that are relevant to you, your business and your target market, and search social media channels for hashtags around those topics.  Then join that conversation by using the hashtag to reply or converse with others around the topic, or add new ideas or perspectives.  If it’s a topical issue, make sure you’ve done your research before you post – don’t just post for the sake of it.

Create a hashtag for your brand

Make this something simple that your followers can use if they want to engage you in conversation or mention you in posts.  Keep it simple and consistent, and remind your followers every now and again to use it if they’re talking about or doing something relevant to it.

Host your own chat

Create and promote a Twitter chat around a particular topic of interest to your followers and invite them to be part of it by using a specific hashtag. Hosting is a great way to get your people together and talking, sharing knowledge and ideas, asking questions and sharing a laugh.  It’s a great way to create more meaningful connections than just posting status updates.

Keep it simple

Make sure your hashtags are simple, relevant, easy to remember and use the correct spelling!  You might get lots of people interested in joining a conversation on #interiorideas, but not so many on #interoirideas

Have some fun!

If you’re posting a fun image or anecdote, try using a witty hashtag with it to add some punch and humour to the image.  This can be good for encouraging sharing.

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And lastly, here a few #thingstoavoid

#reallyuncessarilylonghashtags

These are often used by individuals in a fun, tongue-in-cheek manner, but for messaging about your brand or business this can appear unprofessional and messy.  If you want to use this style of humour as a brand, keep it light, fun and use sparingly!

Being too random

There’s no point jumping on a topic or trending issue because it’s popular.  Just because a bandwagon has a lot of people in it, doesn’t mean it’s going in your direction or that people on it are going to be interested in what you’ve got to say.

Too many hashtags in one post

#nobody #wants #to #read #posts #like #this.  It might get you showing up in a conversation feed, but chances are people will skip right over your post because it looks cluttered and tries too hard.

Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon did a fun take on this social media faux pas.  Click here to check it out on youtube.

Want to know more? Talk to us!

Adapted from sources:  Social Media Today and Gremln

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