A Practical Guide to Improve Your Hashtag Performance

Here’s a practical guide to the hashtag, a simple tool that helps you get better results with your social media posts. If you’ve ever been on Twitter or Facebook and noticed that “hashtag” thing but aren’t sure how to use it best then you should continue reading. It’s fairly common for hashtags to be used incorrectly. We’re here to help you avoid these mistakes so you can properly promote your business online.

What is a hashtag?
In social media the definition of hashtag is “a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.” Hashtags are a common practice these days and are used to help users tag their posts to make them easier for users to search for particular keywords.

How to use hashtags
Hashtags are fairly easy to use. Just add the ‘#’ sign in front of a word or phrase without any punctuation or spaces.

It is important, however, to know about the things you should avoid:

  • Don’t make it too difficult to read (#itsnoteasytoreadalonghashtag) and watch for phrases that can combine into unwanted messages (#nowthatchersdead was intended to be “now thatchers dead,” but was read as “now that chers dead”).
  • Make sure you’re not using hashtags that aren’t applicable to the topic you’re speaking about. #cookies&milk
  • Try not to clutter all your posts with #hashtags. #It #can #be #annoying and #unnecessary.

Why should I create my own hashtag?
You’ve probably heard of trending hashtags, which in social media means topics that are being discussed more than others. If you are able to create the right hashtag for your company you will have the ability to trend amongst your followers. By being creative and smart with your hashtag creation, you will have the potential to harness powerful brand awareness at a low cost.

A great example of this is with Nike’s #betterforit campaign. Paired with edgy quotes and photos, this hashtag is on point with Nike’s brand and drives tons of traffic to their app.

There are also many stories of the exact opposite scenarios where companies have chosen hashtags that backfired on them. For example, when McDonald’s used the hashtag #McDStories they wanted users to share heart warming stories about happy meals, but internet users turned it into a way to share McDonald’s Horror stories. Always remember to know your brand and your audience well.

Where can I use hashtags?

Hashtags are used widely around the Internet but there are a list of platforms that use them frequently:

  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Google+
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Vine

story written by Jacqui Janzen