The Current Status of Hashtags – How and Why to Use Them
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At this point in time, there is a good chance that you know what a hashtag is. Whether you’ve heard the jokes on late night talk shows about millennials using them, or if you are tech savvy and are already using them on social media, hashtags are super important when it comes to marketing and expanding your company’s reach on social media.
What are Hashtags and How do I Use Them?
When you pair your hashtag with a word or a phrase, your social media post will be found when someone clicks on or searches for that hashtag. Hashtags were first used by Chris Messina on Twitter in 2007. He wanted a way to group conversations by topic and the rest is history! The trend took off and is now one of the best strategies to grow your social media. They can be used to group media or conversation by topic, kickstart engagement, build your community, and help others discover you.
How to use them though?
Based on different algorithms and the way each social media platform responds to hashtags, here are the recommendations for how many hashtags you should use on each post:
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There are specific categories of hashtags that you can utilize to help your engagement. Try brainstorming a few words or phrases you can use for each category for your business:
Product or service hashtags
Industry niche hashtags
User-generated content hashtags
Event or conference hashtags
Cultural movement hashtags
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Why Should I Use Hashtags?
Given the definition and role of hashtags, the main reason why you should use them is exposure. According to the social media marketing company, Sprout Social, posts that use hashtags get up to 12% more engagement than when they did not use them. Seems like a small number, but that is huge in the digital world! Using hashtags will allow more people to see, like, and share your posts. You may even get comments and follows from them.
On Instagram, for example, you can use up to 30 hashtags on each post. While this doesn’t mean you should use 30 hashtags for every post, you do have 30 chances to meet the right audience. And no matter how many you do use, you will want to ensure each one is related to the photo, your business, and a location.
For example, if you are posting about your coffee shop, you want to use hashtags that relate specifically to your business. To name a few, you could use #coffee, #coffeeshop, #smallbusiness, #coffeeshopvibes, and #mymorningcoffee. Your single post will show up in all of these hashtag categories when people click on them or search for them. When done correctly, you will ultimately gain more views, likes, shares, and comments because hashtags help your posts reach more people.
TIP: Research hashtags before posting! Stray away from dense, overused hashtags and explore small and mid-sized hashtags. This gives you more opportunities to stand out in the explore page.
You must have noticed that your posts get engagement from individuals who don’t even follow you. Showing up in top hashtags is the contributing cause for this unexpected reach.
Hashtags can drive business to you because they put your posts in front of your target audience. Consumers love to search social media for products and services, so hashtags allow your posts to come up in their search. Another example is using hashtags for your location, like #Kankakee. Users may be interested in seeing the different posts from the Kankakee area and notice your coffee shop, storefront, or organization. Which may just lead to a new customer!
The Electric Lady Lounge tattoo shop in Kankakee, Illinois utilizes hashtags on Facebook for engagement. She focuses on her niche and location to engage with the right audience.
We personally use hashtags that are both location and service/industry based.
Here is an example of Instagram’s explore page where you can search a hashtag, such as #coffee, #smallbusinessupport, or a specific location you are visiting. You can then see all the posts that have used that hashtag.
Hashtags offer a unique opportunity to gain exposure and gain customers. They are easy to use, easy to navigate, and really help you step up your company’s social media game! Click here to read more about why using hashtags can be beneficial to your company and its social media presence.
If you need assistance with your social media posts or compiling a list of the most relevant and effective hashtags to use for your business, we would be happy to help!