It seems like every six months or so, there are conversations about how hashtags are no longer relevant. There’s this conversation… And this one. And even this one. But these conversations don’t change the facts. As we’ve seen, hashtags are still relevant, y’all. No matter how often bloggers rail against misuse and overuse and silly use, hashtags just keep going strong.
Hashtags (#) are an important tool many social media users use to expand his or her reach. You will find these handy dandy symbols almost everywhere, whether on the social media sites themselves, commercials, products you purchase, events, flyers, and whatever else you may or may not stumble upon in everyday life happenings.
For those of you who may not know what the purpose of a hashtag is, it is used to create groups with words or phrases into one stream, and they’re used on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram (sorry, LinkedIn). When you use a hashtag, your choice word(s) or phrase(s) are hyperlinked and sent into the feed of the word(s) or phrase(s). All others who click on your hashtag of choice will then see all posts other users have done, therefore expanding your reach. You never know who might come across your post, you know? Also, if someone happens to do a Google search with your hashtag, your post might show up, therefore allowing potential clicks on your post. Another great thing about the hashtag is that it’s a free tool! Who would not want easy access to a free tool? No one.
Folks who use hashtags in their social strategy usually get around two times more engagement than those without hashtags. Believe it or not, people still search those trending topics. They also seek out hashtagged words and phrases that fit their industry to see what others are saying. If you want to reach people who aren’t already following you, this is the way to do it. When marketing, your hashtags should relate to your business or industry. You don’t have to only use those, though. Several phrases and words get plenty of engagement and can apply to even the silly or entertaining info you post. You can find and search for hashtags at hashtagify.me.
Now, one thing that I find horribly tacky is when users over-hashtag (aka have waaay too many in their post) or turn a sentence into a hashtag. That is useless, because I am sure that not many people are using the exact same sentence you are as a hashtag. Using too many hashtags is an easy way to annoy others and make them want to unfollow you, therefore hurting your engagement possibilities. I recommend using 1-2 on Facebook, no more than 3 on Twitter, up to 7 on Instagram, 2-3 on Google+, and 2-3 on Pinterest.
When you start using hashtags, make sure you do not put a space between the # and your word, otherwise it will not work. Also, any punctuation will unlink letters after that punctuation. The phrase #don’tstopbelieving would only link the “don” and the rest after the apostrophe would be excluded. So give it a try if you haven’t taken advantage of these yet. If you have, keep on, keepin’ on. Happy #hashtagging!