Wondering how you should be using hashtags for your business? Would you like to increase your reach on social media?
Hashtags are a great FREE way to increase your reach. But many people aren’t using them as much as they could be.
First of all, what is a hashtag? It’s basically a “keyword” with the # symbol that then identifies that tweet or post as being about that topic.
How does a hashtag increase your reach? Usually when you put that hashtag in your post, all the hashtags with that post can be easily searched or broken out into their own conversation. People are watching these conversations and will find your post even if they aren’t following you or connected with you.
When you click on the hashtag, you then see all the people who are talking about that topic.
We had a great conversation on SocialTalk LIVE with some hashtag tips. And of course, I was in one of my fabulous wigs and Phyllis had a lovely hat that looked like a lampshade.
If you’d like the cliff notes to our conversation here they are:
#1 Use them regularly
This one sounds simple but it’s not. Many people (and I have to say I’m guilty of this too) forget to put hashtags into their posts, tweets, updates, etc.
There are 3 types of hashtags:
- Keyword – these are basically the word around the topic you are talking about.
- Fun – this can be anything made up or silly. Like #mycathatesme or #notgonnalie.
#2 Research them first
Keyword hashtags are fairly straightforward but if you are making up your own branded hashtag for an event or product, you need to be careful. If there is another conversation going on or if your made up hashtag is slang for something you aren’t aware of, it can get ugly.
If you are making something up, take into consideration different spellings that can occur within the hashtag.
We talked about the gaffe with #NowThatcherIsDead when Margaret Thatcher died. This hashtag was also read as #NowThatCherIsDead. So Cher was getting all kinds of press around her death – she assured everyone she was feeling just fine. (Note that capitalization doesn’t mater in hashtags – they appear in the same group no matter what).
Phyllis gave 3 great tools to help you research hashtags. You want to make sure you are using a hashtag in the right way.
I love this tool because it shows you related terms, usage patterns, and top influencers for that hashtag. You may not think about other hashtags you can add into your posts.
I wasn’t personally familiar with this one but it’s really cool. You can see what hashtags are popular in what areas.
I like this one because it brings all the hashtags across different platforms into one place.
Phyllis also has a GREAT checklist for researching hashtags that you can get here: http://phylliskhare.com/hashtagchecklist
#3 Have a strategy
Make sure you are using the same hashtags across your platforms so that you are branding yourself as an expert in that category. Also we talked about how many hashtags to use on each platform.
- Twitter: 1 – 2 Hashtags
- Instagram: 11 Hashtags is the sweet spot according to this great hashtag research done by BufferApp
- Facebook: maybe one or two at the end of the text. The testing I’ve done didn’t show that Hashtags on Facebook increased reach.
- Google+: 1-3 Hashtags
- Pinterest: Hashtags are more keywords. Any search on a hashtag will also bring results from that general keyword. You can use branded hashtags to stand out more. Use them only in the Pin description where they are clickable.
- LinkedIn: Hashtags aren’t supported at this time
With any new endeavor, measure what is working for you. Watch your stats on these platforms and see how your reach increases over time.
So hopefully this will inspire you to use more hashtags in your social posts. How about you – are you already using hashtags? How are they working out for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!