Since their first appearance on Twitter in 2007 Hashtags have become a prominent feature in the social media landscape, with nearly every platform from Facebook to Google + getting in on the action. So, we all know what they are (handy metadata tags that create searchable links) but how can they be used to their full potential to promote your business? We have come up with 7 golden rules to help you navigate the exciting world of hashtags!
#RuleOne: No Spaces or Punctuation
Hashtags should be a continuous string of words, spaces and punctuation will complicate things and make your hashtag unsearchable. Instead, use capital letters to highlight words as searching for #FoodAddict will also show you results for #foodaddict keeping you audience broad.
#RuleTwo: Less is More
Limit your hashtags to maximise impact, too many and your posts will look spammy. Keep it to a few hashtags per post, no more than 4, however, with Instagram you can add a couple more (between 2 and 10) to maximise engagement.
#RuleThree: Keep it Short and to the Point
Limit yourself to no more than three words per hashtag, the longer the hashtag is the fewer results it will yield. Do not overcomplicate things, make sure you keep your hashtag relevant to your post and leave out any obscure references.
#RuleFour: Switch it Up
Remember to keep alternating your hashtags to keep your profile looking fresh, using the same hashtags every time may cause your audience to get bored or see your posts as spam.
#RuleFive: Do your Research
ALWAYS do your research before using a hashtag. By doing this first and foremost you will make sure your hashtag isn’t being used for something irrelevant or negative, but you will also find out which hashtags are most popular. You can search for popular hashtags using the search bar on your chosen platform.
#RuleSix: Know your Platform
Each social media platform uses hashtags in a slightly different way. Whilst (most of) our rules can be applied to all social media platforms you will need to bare a few things in mind when hash-tagging across different channels. On visual platforms (like Instagram) hashtags are used in a descriptive way, such as #delicious, whereas content-based platforms (like Twitter) they are used as topics such as #wednesdaywisdom.
#RuleSeven: Be Creative
Try creating your own hashtag that is connected to your company, this will add to your online brand identity. You can also use them as part of user-generated content campaigns, competitions for example.
With these seven simple rules you will be well on your way to mastering the art of the hashtag, and with tweets with hashtags creating two times more post engagement these rules are well worth following.