Social media is one of the best tools today for cultivating brand awareness. You can get more views on your website and other digital content, and of course, gain new customers. Now, with simple components like hashtags, captions, and tags, you can start developing a social presence easily.
And with over 3.5 billion active users scrolling through their feeds on the daily, the opportunities for businesses to grow are only increasing.
Before the digital marketing thing took off, companies had to market themselves through newspaper articles, poster boards, or stone tablets just to get the attention of a few hundred potential customers. Today, a modern business can reach millions of people through the click of a button without having to print a single piece of paper, and all it cost us was our social skills.
The job of a business owner is to create a good product that people enjoy and come back to. The role of digital marketing experts is to provide you with the tools you'll need to amplify your voice, market impact, and naturally, your customer base.
With that in mind, we’re going to break down how to use a hashtag most efficiently for maximum marketing effect in your social media profiles. I’ll explain why your use of hashtags is essential in the context of social media marketing (SMM). But first, let’s go over why SMM is so beneficial for a business.
We’ve already touched on some social media marketing benefits, like increased brand awareness and internet traffic. But there are even more ways SMM can help a business.
When your brand is active in social media, it means you’re interacting with your clients. This helps ensure customer satisfaction.
Why? Because your customers will feel like they’re being heard. Social media also provides a more direct communication channel, where customers won’t have to go through what they see as the slums of customer service emails.
The more you develop trust with your customer base through social media, the more you inspire brand loyalty. They get to know your products and services, not to mention how you interact with your customers to ensure their satisfaction. They’ll be less likely to go elsewhere for the product they’ve been getting from you.
Another benefit of a good social media presence is building your authority as an industry leader, being the one to go to in your niche market. But remember, this doesn't come with just creating a Facebook account. Being a standout presence on social media requires creating and putting out engaging, high-quality content. Having different social media accounts on different platforms makes sharing this content easier. Mainly, at little to no cost to you while giving you access to a much wider target audience.
There are many ways to maximize the benefits of SMM. One of the most effective ways is by optimizing your hashtags!
A hashtag is a phrase or keyword used to describe and group a topic, theme, or idea.
There are two components to the hashtag: the hash symbol, or the pound sign (#) – immediately followed by a keyword or phrase without including any spaces or punctuation. So, if you wanted to create a hashtag for the Super Bowl, it would look like #SuperBowl.
Pretty straight forward, right?
Hashtags were created by Twitter back in 2007, but have since been adopted by every major social media platform. This is because hashtags help create trends and spread awareness on specific topics, and have even spearheaded movements, like #IceBucketChallenge and #MeToo.
Basically, hashtags are used everywhere that matters, so you can’t ignore them.
The importance of hashtags in SMM is a direct result of what they do. Hashtags are an effective way of categorizing tweets, images, discussions, and other types of content into subgroups. If you think of the internet as a giant file room, then hashtags are file labels used to consolidate topics and make them easier to find.
Going along with the file room analogy, say you’re browsing through Twitter. You want to find pictures or videos of cats fighting cucumbers. Naturally. You might search for the hashtag #Cats, but that would just bring you to an infinitely large file cabinet filled with media about cats. The same would go if you searched for #Cucumbers.
If you searched #CatsVsCucumber, you would come to that specific file filled with pictures, videos, and people talking about cats fighting or being afraid of cucumbers. Also, because the internet is a magical place, that actually is a real hashtag.
Here's the thing. According to internal Twitter research, tweets that used hashtags increased engagement (clicks, retweets, favorites, and replies) by 100% for individuals and 50% for brands.
That means that if you’re trying to promote your brand, adding a hashtag makes it more likely people will find. You’ve now put a nifty little file label on your tweet — a label people might be searching for. This makes it more likely that you’ll gain more views on your content and engagements with your brand.
Using hashtags will increase engagement with a brand because it allows content to be put in categories that are easily shareable, and in turn, making it more likely to be seen by a target audience.
But here’s the rub. Using hashtags for digital paid ads (action-based advertisements for installing an app or redirecting to a website) makes it less likely that people will click on the ad. When you pack a tweet with clickable parts, the viewer is more likely to get distracted and click on something that is not the ad itself.
I know it seems that way, but there's a simple way to strike the right balance with hashtags. Think of it this way: for non-advertisement content like blog posts, discussions, or other media to raise brand awareness, use hashtags to generate engagement and drive up visibility.
Here’s the bottom line with hashtags and paid ads. For ads you want the viewer to interact with and click on, don’t use any hashtags at all. You don’t want to distract them with other clickable parts.
When trying to create the best hashtag, you need to find a balance between relevance and specificity. You want to make sure you cast a broad enough net to grab the attention from the most people. But you still want to hit your specific niche — your target audience — because that’s where you will get the most engagement.
When making a post, you’ll want to use a topic-relevant hashtag. For example, if you're a shoemaker dedicated to high-performance shoes, you’ll likely gain a higher conversion rate from a hashtag like #crosscountry, than from something like #shoes.
Different social media platforms might have slightly different guidelines for the use of hashtags. But they all share the same general principles — you can’t use spaces or special characters ($, %, or *, for example). Below is a list of popular social media sites and some guidelines for hashtagging:
If you Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who searches for that hashtag may find your Tweet. Twitter recommends using no more than two hashtags per Tweet as best practice, but you can use as many hashtags in a Tweet as you like. Type a hashtagged keyword in the search bar to discover new content and accounts based on your interests.
You can search for a hashtag using the search bar at the top of the page. You’ll only see posts that were shared with you.
To tag a photo or video with a hashtag:
Some notes and policies about hashtagging on YouTube:
Over-tagging: Don't add too many tags in a single video. The more tags you add to a video, the less relevant they become for online users browsing through social media. If a video has more than 15 hashtags, people will typically ignore all hashtags on that video. Over-tagging may also result in the removal of your video from your uploads or search.
Misleading content: Don't add hashtags that are not directly related to the video. Misleading or unrelated hashtags may result in the removal of your video.
Harassment: Don't add a hashtag with the purpose of harassing, humiliating, intimidating, exposing, or threatening an individual or group. Violating this policy will result in the removal of your video.
Hate speech: Don't add any hashtags that promote violence or hatred against individuals or groups. Don't add hashtags that contain racist, sexist, or other slurs. Violating this policy will result in the removal of your video.
Sexual content: Adding sexual or explicit hashtags may result in the removal of your video. If a video is intended to be sexually provocative, it's less likely to be acceptable for YouTube.
Vulgar language: Use of profanity or offensive terms in your hashtags may lead to an age-restriction or removal of your video.
Non-hashtags: While adding hashtags is allowed, adding ordinary descriptive tags or repetitive sentences in the description is (still) prohibited. If you violate this policy, your video may be removed or penalized.
You now have all the basics you need to start hashtagging effectively. If you want to learn more about social media marketing and how it can help your business and brand, our Digital Resource team offers a broad range of strategies and solutions to amplify your voice and impact on social media. Contact us today for a free consultation! #WeAreDR