One way of viewing labels is to think that they compartmentalise everything that you come across in life. On the other hand, it’s fair to say that they help categorise information to make it relevant. This is true for the digital space, where a hashtag labels your content so interested readers can find it more easily in a sea of information. They became all the rage on Twitter, and since then have wormed their way on to other platforms as well. But as a business, should you worry about understanding hashtags? Absolutely.
Why should you care about hashtags?
Hashtags allow readers to interact with your brand over a given topic. They give users the ability to make inputs be it positive or negative and can help you gain traction, especially if your conversations are topical. There are a number of hashtag analysis tools that you can use that help you find ones that are relevant to your business model. HootSuite, All Hashtag, Ritetag and Hashtagify keep your digital presence tailored and sharp. However, it’s best that you have a systematic approach to hashtags and don’t bombard your audience with them. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when you do.
Leave no spaces between words
The first rule to remember is that hashtags have to be a continuous string of words. You can capitalise alphabets to show separation but special characters like exclamation marks, commas, and currency signs are a no-no. #TagThemLikeThis.
Post focused hashtags
Be specific with your hashtags. You want to narrow down to your target audience by filtering out the demographic that may not be interested in your product. For example, if you are a supplier of school uniforms, instead of using ‘#uniforms’ that can attract college students and companies with a dress code as well, use a hashtag like ‘#BacktoSchoolUniforms’ to narrow down your audience and create meaningful interaction. As a thumb rule, have a campaign hashtag that will be constant for all posts that fall under a particular campaign, trend based hashtags if your post is topical, and hashtags that align with the core content of your post.
Tag what you represent and not just who you are
Focus on creating good hashtags that represent what you stand for as a company. By doing so, you can open up communication with your followers and encourage them to use the hashtag to share their own content. This can’t be done if you post about solely your brand name, and won’t allow you to build relevance in the lives of your target demographic.
Select the number of hashtags according to the platform
When posting the most popular hashtags it is important to not go overboard. To ensure you get the desired traction, you must exercise restraint. Having too many hashtags can make your post appear as spam and research suggests you will see less engagement. With platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, a few hashtags seem to generate the best response. However, on Instagram, having as many as 11 hashtags may help increase engagement.
Improve your SEO rating with hashtags
Google crawls posts on social media as well as content on websites and blogs, which is why you must tag all your content. Using hashtags consistently and cleverly will help you build brand awareness, and by using hashtags on your social media platforms you can direct more people to your website and generate leads in the process. While there are several nuances that you must be aware of when using hashtags, it pays to #KeepItSimple. You may be tempted to string together words to enamour your audience, but remember that the goal is to help people find what they’re looking for more easily. So, a pun or two is alright, but refrain from sounding like you’re talking in code!