Hashtags 101

Have you ever used a hashtag (#)? Believe it or not, hashtags have been around for almost eight years now (WOW!). But like many businesspeople, you may not know how to use a hashtag effectively.

We’re here to give you some pointers on how to utilize a hashtag as a marketing tool.

To start, let’s give you some context. A hashtag is used in social media posts to make them searchable by topic, i.e. #Botox gathers posts from doctors, facilities, and patients about the cosmetic procedure. Hashtags can also help highlight the purpose of your posts.

Depending on the platform, hashtags perform different functions. Check out how a hashtag will help boost your social media presence in each of these platforms.

Facebook – Typically, Facebook followers can search hashtags by clicking on them within a post. This means that if a potential follower already follows another business in your field, your Pages may have some crossover with your hashtags. Assuming that the user looks through search results, they may find your Page.

Limitations: Hashtags are difficult to search for in the search bar. They are often a result of cross-posting from Instagram.

Google+ – Much like the Google search engine, Google+ wants to use hashtags to improve the user experience. Consequently, Google+ often auto-hashtags posts if the topic is clear, making it more available to users who are searching the topic. This is great for your business! Users who aren’t previously connected to your Page will be exposed via the Google+ search algorithm. Why not use hashtags to make your post immediately searchable?!

Limitations: Hashtags cannot be numbers only. If special characters are used, Google+ may try to drop the portion following the character.

Twitter – Twitter is the birthplace of the hashtag. The platform is a great place to post hashtags with reference to an event. Comments and updates are easy to follow in the purposefully short posts. Plus, you’ll have a great record of your event engagement for future reference. Hashtags are also very useful for hosting Twitter chats, but that might have to be saved for Hashtags 201!

Limitations: Hashtags are subject to the standard Twitter 140 characters. They also only allow letters, numbers, and underscores (_), no special characters.

Instagram – While we do not provide Instagram services, we still want you to know how to use hashtags if you personally maintain a business Instagram account. Using hashtags in Instagram posts can greatly increase your engagement. The best way for users to discover new accounts is through hashtags. Try participating in the most common Instagram hashtags, i.e. #latergram, #tbt (throwback Thursday), etc. Instagram also caters well to location hashtags, i.e. #parkcity, #losangeles, #la, etc.

Limitations: Hashtags can only contain letters, numbers, and underscores (_), no special characters. Only 30 hashtags are allowed in each post.

Be sure to search a hashtag before you post to make sure that you want your post to be grouped with existing posts by other users with the same hashtag.

And have fun! Think about what your potential followers want to see in their newsfeeds, then make a hashtag. You may not realize it yet, but #welovecats can go a long way =)

Posted in: News, Social Media

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