What are Hashtags?

Hashtags are a word, or group of words after the # sign (like #hashtag, #buylocal, #marketing or anything else). If you’re more technically inclined, you may know them as a metadata tag. For marketers – you will know them as a way to engage your brand with your market. Now let’s get to the strategies…

General Rules To Follow

When using hashtags, there are several rules to keep in mind:

1. In most cases, using many hashtags decreases interactions. Pinterest and Instagram are exceptions to this rule.

2. Use local hashtags to build community awareness.

3. Use specific products or hashtags to create conversation.

4. Use search tools to see related hashtags. Hashtagify.me is a free tool it can be used to view related hashtags.

5. Before you use new hashtags, make sure that you understand the existing meanings and uses of them to avoid offensive, controversial or demeaning ones.

Below, I outline the use of hashtags on some of the social media platforms:

Twitter

Using hashtags on Twitter is essential for growth. Posts with hashtags get thrice as much engagement as posts without hashtags, according to Buffer. Tweets with two or more hashtags get the highest engagement. 

Instagram

Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags with each message. However, don’t jam 30 hashtags into your post. Instead, consider posting your message with no hashtags. This keeps your post clean and is more likely to engage your audience. 

Facebook

Opinions vary greatly on the effectiveness of hashtags on Facebook. Hashtags enable users who are unaware of your brand to find it by searching for specific topics. Periodically test the effectiveness of hashtags on your business’s Facebook page and make sure they are relevant.

Google Plus

One unique feature of Google Plus is that even if you don’t add specific hashtags to your post, Google will automatically add hashtags based on the post’s content. But by adding your own relevant hashtags, you can double your chances of being found. 

LinkedIn 

LinkedIn hashtags on mobile rolled out in the fall of 2016, LinkedIn content shows up in Google searches so using hashtags can put your posts in front of a larger audience. Another way to grasp hashtags on LinkedIn is to post them in the comments.

Pinterest 

On September 29, 2017, Pinterest officially started accepting hashtags again. However, hashtags are only useful in pin descriptions. The first four hashtags show up in the feed so it’s a good idea to use at least four. On Pinterest, users can use more than 500 characters in a pin description. Pinterest organizes pins chronologically in search.

YouTube

YouTube allows hashtags in video descriptions and titles. You can use up to 15 hashtags without Google penalizing you. YouTube also allows tags, which are different. Tags cannot be listed in the description, but the same words with a hashtag (#) can be listed in the description. Additionally, hashtags in the title help videos show up in searches.

Hashtags are an important and effective marketing tool. Hashtags can be confusing at first, but they are here to stay and are only growing in popularity. 

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