If you are new to social media, or have been ignoring hashtags, or not sure if you are using them properly, please keep reading. The hashtag is a valuable tool and there are tangible payoffs for your business – you just need to understand a few basics.
The basics of Hashtags
Hashtags turn topics into clickable links in your social posts, helping people find other related posts about the topics they’re interested in – it’s a great way to “file” your content. Hashtags are written as the # sign plus a single word (without spaces or punctuation). The reason to use a hashtag: identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it. Simple.
When a user clicks on a hashtag, they will be able to see all the posts that include that same hashtag. This will work on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and beyond – all with varied strategies.
— BordenTeam (@BordenTeam) June 16, 2015
The Business Argument: Why should you Hashtag? Everyone (pretty much) is on social media, from major brands to solopreneurs and our personal connections – with good reason! We can use hashtags to connect with virtual cliques (your community), like-minded businesses, media, potential clients, and current customers. Hashtags can also be used to promote specific events or campaigns, and bring people together around events, both live in person, and virtual ones too. For example, the #MOMeoWIBN hashtag is used for a recurring chat for women in business:
DO THIS with Hashtags
- Do use relevant, specific hashtags (the ones people are using and engaging with). Tapping into a passionate group of people discussing something specific will result in better engagement, and that’s what social media is all about.
- Search for popular hashtags within each platform – remember, what is trending on Twitter, might not be on Instagram.
- Do develop your own original hashtag for special events, so your attendees can share and interact.
- Do click on hashtags before using them to ensure that they are what you think they mean, and also to help you find people to connect with – to again find your community.
- Do capitalize the first letter of each word when your hashtag is longer than one word – without punctuation and spaces, those upper case letters have never been more helpful. #TheMoreYouKnow
- Do know your social network. You should use fewer hashtags on Twitter and Facebook (2-3 maximum, and not necessarily on every post). On Instagram you can get away with (and I suggest) using more (best practice of 11 at the time of writing this post), which allows people interested in your content to find you – and you to find them.
Being uncomfortable is where you want to be! It forces us to be creative and allows us to resolve conflicts and find opportunity. How often do you put yourself into a challenging situation? Embrace the uncomfortable, try something new or different, and be honest, and receptive. #openyourmind #changeisgood #wordsofwisdom #wordstoliveby #inspiration #inspo #community #action #timferris #quote #quotes #qotd #themoreyouknow #lifehack #entrepreneurs #worklife #success
A photo posted by Lisa Borden (@lisaborden) on
DON’T DO THIS with Hashtags
- Don’t spam with hashtags. If your content is not related to the “conversation”, do not use the hashtag.
- Don’t speak in hashtags. Please. I beg you. There are so many reasons, including the fact that it is hard to read and non-searchable.
- Don’t try and be too clever. Hashtags are supposed to make things simple to find and engage with.
- Don’t have more hashtags in a post than words. Content matters. Although hashtags help you gain “likes” and followers, you want the right people to find you – so avoid #instagood and #photooftheday (that result in spammers finding you) and connect with people over real, relevant hashtags that will have the right people connect with you.
- Don’t hashtag everything. Like with anything, doing too much is too much. Be strategic and deliberate about using a hashtag.
Think about the people and companies you want to engage with. What are they talking about online? What hashtags are they using? It may seem forced at first, but you’ll quickly find your footing with practice – we promise! Hashtags will help you make an impression on a world-wide audience – make sure you are sharing the best content so when they find you and scroll through your feed, they might understand the essence of who you are, and choose to engage with you based on that first impression.
This post is a resource from The Borden Workbook, our comprehensive guide to help entrepreneurs organize and grow their small businesses. The Borden Workbook is used in conjunction with consultation with Borden Communications, or as an organized guide you can used on your own to launch, develop, and nurture your small business (starting now!). We take pride in creating a clear and humble approach to good business tactics that everyone can understand and execute.