In the summer of 2007, a web marketing specialist walks into Twitter’s office with a single genius idea. Yep, it was Chris Messina who suggested the usage of the pound or hash symbol (also known as an Octothroph) to categorize similar content on the platform. Fast-forward to today, hashtags are now powerful tools that add quirkiness to tweets, start global movements, support causes that truly matter, and so much more!
With the massive reach offered by hyperlinked hashtags, they are now an amazing way to connect with millions of people with similar interests. And the best part? It’s not just only for Twitter anymore! You can use them anywhere on the internet.
Why are hashtags so important?
Since hashtags can reach so many people, naturally, they can come in handy for marketing. With branded hashtags, you can easily promote your brand and services on every social media platform out there. Transforming your brand tagline into a hashtag or starting a separate hashtag campaign for your brand might just do the trick for you.
Of course, who could forget Coca-Cola’s global campaign #shareacoke that boosted their brand awareness or Calvin Klein’s #mycalvin, carefully crafted to generate UGC?
Even personal brands, non-profit organizations, and individual activists can use hashtags to reach a mass audience and interact with them regularly. For example, the infamous #IceBucketChallenge raised awareness for ALS while also generating funds for the ALS organization as many celebrities started chiming into this trending challenge.
However, hashtags only work when used in the right way. Here are some mistakes to avoid while using hashtags.
What not to do:
- Including any spaces or punctuations. Make sure to start the hashtag with a (#).
- Using hashtags in a private account. If your account is not public, even the best hashtags will not be able to reach any non-followers.
- Using hashtags that are too long. Don’t club in too many words. Keep it short and clean.
- Using obscure or banned hashtags. Always go for the relevant and trending hashtags specific to your post.
- Using too many hashtags. More isn’t better; it’s spammy. For example, the advised number of hashtags for a tweet is 1-2. The number should be around 3-5 hashtags for Instagram posts and Youtube videos.
So, what’s the right way to do it? Keep reading ahead to know!
1. Keep an eye
Follow influencers in your niche and your competitors. Observe which hashtags and how many of them are they using. This will help you decide what is popular in your area of expertise at the moment and what are the best hashtags for your brand.
2. Use ‘related’ hashtags
If you are already using trending hashtags that are relevant to your niche, expand your audience reach with ‘related hashtags’. These popular hashtags can help you find out similar things that are trending and capture a whole new audience through them.
3. Keeping things mixed
You may find hashtags that millions of people follow while looking for the right ones for you. But remember, that doesn’t mean the hashtag is effective. When a high volume of users follows a hashtag, it is probably overused. Your post might just get lost in the sea of content with the same hashtag. To avoid it, make sure your hashtags are a balanced mixture of popular and niche hashtags to reach a wide range of audiences.
4. Create a unique hashtag
Don’t just lazily Google “trending hashtags today.” In a sea of hashtags out there, you can stand apart with just a little effort. Find a catchy tagline or some words that are relevant to your brand, create your own trending hashtags, and start your hashtag campaign.
Hashtags are wonderful tools to generate more audience interaction on your social media posts. But that is only if used correctly. Be it a branded hashtag challenge on Instagram reels or your regular social media posts, hashtags can boost your reach organically.