Hashtags done right!
Hashtags have become indispensable on social media platforms. Both casual users and professionals use them extensively. But despite the fact that the hashtag seems to be a simple tool to categorise your social media post, there is much more behind it. If you have a campaign or want to start one on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter… you can use the hashtag to optimise your campaign and reach more people. These simple tips you will help you nail it in no time.
What the # is a hashtag?
A hashtag is a keyword, or a short sentence written in one word, preceded by a #. An example: #RAAKdoesit or #readitatRAAK. As you can see, you’re free to use both caps and lowercase letters and combine them too. You can use the hashtag in your social media posts to link your post to a larger set of posts that use the same hashtag. By doing so, you actually categorise your post under a hashtag. You can then find the post by looking up the hashtag (#yourownhashtag) via the platform search function. Keep in mind that others can only find your post via the hashtag if your social media profile is set as public.
You can place the hashtag(s) anywhere in your post. But keep in mind that hashtags in an image or video format cannot be recognized as such by the platform. So your post will not be categorised under this hashtag either. Hashtags only work with the text input options of a post.
Okay, hope that’s #crystalclear.
Finding the right #
Finding a suitable hashtag requires thorough research, to make sure it scores well. Here are some tips that can help.
Define your audience
When you launch a campaign on social media, you’ll likely have set up a target group already, with specific interests upon which you can base the necessary hashtags. Try looking at the hashtags that your target group itself uses. For instance, an audience of pool owners who share a lot of pictures with #SUNNYDAYS. Then you can use the same hashtag and even add some variations of it into your post (e.g. #SUNNYPRODUCT…) By responding to the posts that your target group shares, you can reach them more easily and they might get interested in your brand.
Create brand hashtags
Brand hashtags are unique tags for your company or product. They ensure that your brand gets a solid reputation through the use of your own tags. It’s actually a kind of signature for every social media post (where hashtags are possible), which defines your brand. Finding your brand hashtag is not that difficult. Use your own company name, brand name, product name or taglines: #RAAK or #DataDrivenAgency for example. By all means, try to avoid hashtags that are often used by other (similar) companies. If you choose a tag that is already used frequently, its unique properties will have worn out.
In addition to a brand hashtag, you can also use campaign hashtags for a brand or product campaign. In this case you can base them upon the name of the campaign or its main slogan. Keep them short and catchy, so people remember them and are more inclined to share them. In addition, people should also be able to ‘find’ themselves in the tag. Referring to a recognisable situation or feeling always works well. Examples of some well-known campaign hashtags that stuck? #ShareACoke by Coca-Cola. #WorthSaying by L'Oréal Paris. #LetsDoLunch by Domino's Pizza.
Keep an eye on the trends
Hashtags are trend-sensitive! Trends are a way to update your hashtags and hook them up with the latest developments. You can adapt your hashtags to trends or use hashtags that are ‘trending’. Do you see a trend that relates to your business? Take advantage of it and and use the corresponding tag. You may be able to get your message across to a larger audience. You can even try and find niche trends that are used in more specific communities, to address target groups that are less approachable.
Popular trending tags can generate a lot of conversion. But it’s no guarantee. Often trends are sensitive to the latest news, entertainment and hypes. As a company, you need to be aware of the fact that if you go along with trends related to news events, you can be linked to political or less positive events. For that matter, using trends that focus on hypes and entertainment is safer;
At platforms such as Twitter and Instagram you can check which hashtags are trending. On Twitter, simply click the search tab to see the trending topics of the moment. You can even see which hashtags are used for trending topics, based on location. On Instagram, use the search bar. When you look up a trending topic, you can click on ‘tags’ at the top to see which the trending hashtags are. But you’ll find a wide array of tools on the internet. One of our personal favourites is trends24.in.
Three more things, before you get to work
- Hashtags only work on social media platforms. Don’t use them on your website, …
- Don’t use too many or irrelevant hashtags in a single post.
- Keep your hashtags short! Short hashtags are more easily sought for and found.
Hashtags may look easy to apply, but it actually requires some research and creativity. As with many other things on social media, hashtags need a good strategy in order to work. In the end, hashtags are just a tool that help a bigger cause. If you use them wisely, they’ll significantly enhance your online presence. #goodluck #goforit