Hashtags are a big part of social media, but they are also a great way to organize social media posts, search for similar posts, reach out to a specific audience and more. Entire marketing strategies and campaigns are created around hashtags and that makes them powerful in the social media realm. But, just like chain letters and forwarding emails, hashtags are often abused and overused. More importantly they are often just used incorrectly.
There are right and wrong ways to use hashtags in your social media and marketing strategies. Here are a few tried and true rules to follow when using the good old pound sign in your tweets and status updates:
DO combine your hashtags with great visual images to increase the views and likes, as well as comments and engagement.
DO place your hashtags at the end of your post instead of within the comment itself. Some people find it difficult to read comments or post updates full of hashtags instead of just the words. Don’t make your comments hard for your followers to read, they will just skip it instead.
DO use hashtags that are popular and trending when possible.
DO your research on your industry to find out what hashtags are trending and in frequent use based on the latest news and information.
DO use hashtags anytime you create a contest, new campaign or promotion. They are a quick way for followers to find your content and engage with you in a timely manner.
DON’T use more than 8-10 hashtags per post. More than that and your engagement is likely to decrease.
DON’T use a lot of hashtags on Facebook. Studies have shown that Facebook posts that do not have hashtags out-perform those that have multiple hashtags in them.
DON’T use hashtags that reference another topic or misuse hashtags that are related to something trending or popular JUST BECAUSE it is currently popular. This could not only come back to bite you with Instagram and Twitter but it will make your posts look less credible and reliable to those that follow you and you could actually lose followers over “popular tagging.”
DON’T use hashtags in the place of a real comment or post. No one wants to see a comment that is nothing but hashtags or one that is one really long sentence – smashed together to form one long hashtag.
Do you have any “best practices” that you use when it comes to hashtags on social media? If so, share them with us in the comments. We would love to hear how you handle the hairy world of hashtags.