Around ten years ago, Twitter first introduced the idea of using the hashtag symbol as a means of grouping and searching for relevant content. Since then, the humble hashtag has become virtually ubiquitous, not only on social media, but in our very culture. Today, hashtags can be seen and heard everywhere – on websites, at events, in commercials and movie trailers. The symbol was even named “children’s word of the year” by the Oxford University Press.
However, just because so many people have heard about hashtags does not mean that everyone knows how to use them effectively. To extend the reach of your social media content and help you and your brand become more visible across social platforms, the Red Banyan team came up with these simple but effective tips for a more effective hashtag:
- Be Brief
In order to be effective, hashtags need to be concise. Shorter hashtags are easier to remember and reproduce, so try to keep yours under 11 characters whenever possible.
It is good practice to capitalize each word in your hashtag. Social media nerds like us call this the “camel case” method. It may not automatically increase the reach of your post, but it will make it easier for people to read and understand the hashtag itself. For instance, check out the difference between these two hashtag spellings: #imlovinit vs. #ImLovinIt.
- Do Your Research
It is important to research the hashtag before adopting it as part of your brand’s conversation to avoid contributing to conversations that are off-brand and/or controversial. So, before you post a hashtag, ask yourself:
- Is this hashtag already in use?
- What conversations are linked to the hashtag?
- Is there potential for backlash?
- Count Your Hashtags in Social Posts
Another important thing to consider prior to using hashtags, is the social media platform you are using. Each platform has its own unique algorithm, which affects the optimal number of hashtags in a post.
Tweets with one to two hashtags tend to experience higher engagement than those with three or more hashtags.
This platform allows for a larger character count than Twitter, and also welcomes a greater number of hashtags in a post. The current best practice for Instagram is 11 hashtags or fewer.
Surprisingly enough, Facebook’s current algorithm does not favor hashtags, so using them neither hurts nor benefits the engagement or reach of your post.
Social media is an important part of any marketing and public relations strategy, and understanding hashtags is crucial in order to succeed in those fields. By learning to create and use hashtags effectively, you will be able to better communicate with your followers, drive audience engagement and attract new potential clients for your products or services.
And of course, if you need professional social media counsel, feel free to email us or give us a call at 954-379-2115.