We’ve all seen it. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, there seems to always be a few people who are way too aggressive with their hasthag usage. They think that the purpose behind hashtags is to come up with a creative multi-word combination with a # sign in front of it. #suchagreatweekend #bestfriendsforlife or #itstimetoparty are perfect examples of improper hasthag usage. Unfortunately, this hashtag frenzy has also made its way into corporate social media. Brands all over social media are combining random words and creating new “creative” hashtags because they see users doing the same thing. What these companies and individuals don’t realize is that their hashtags are completely useless!

What is a Hashtag?Hashtag

As defined by Twitter, “The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.” Hashtags are designed to allow you to search for and find relevant information. Clicking on a hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram will bring up a list of all of the posts that have that hashtag in them. Similarly, searching specific hashtags allows you to see all of the posts that are using that hasthag.

How to Use Hashtags  

If you are trying to reach new people and gain new followers through social media, understanding how to properly use hashtags will be a great benefit to you. The following 4 tips will help you get started.

  1. Stop creating useless multi-word hashtags that no one else would ever use or search for. Although they may be funny, these types of hashtags will do nothing for you. No one will ever search for them, and if someone clicks on one from you tweet, they will find nothing.
  2. Use common searchable terms. Focus on using hashtags that you think your potential followers would also be using or searching for. For example, if you were a Dentist, try adding hashtags like #cleanteeth #mintyfresh or #smile to your tweets.
  3. Develop a simple, hashtag that is unique to your brand. Some of the most successful companies on social media have designed their own hashtags which later became extremely popular. Try to model your hashtag after a word or phrase that might already be popular. Diet Coke has found success by using #extraordinary and American Eagle Outifitters commonly uses #LiveYourLife.
  4. Find popular hashtags and use them. Take advantage of the trending topics feature on Twitter or simply search for hashtags to find out if they are being used. If you find they are, and that the people using them are people you want to connect with, start using them yourself. As you begin to incorporate these relevant hashtags you will reach a whole new group of people you otherwise never would have.

As you begin to change your hashtag strategy, we would love to hear what results you see. Leave us a comment with your best hashtag, or even with the worst one you’ve ever seen!

photo credit: danielmoyle via photopin cc

Jamie Bates
Online Marketing Director