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10 Dos and Don’ts of Hashtags

You would be surprised to find out how much content is on the Internet today. If you go to Internet Live Stats, you can see how many hundreds of thousands of emails, tweets, posts, Google searches, and more are happening on the Internet every second. That’s a lot of content for people to sift through. The simplest way to differentiate our content from someone else is through hashtags, the definition of that being “a word or phrase preceded by a hash or pound sign (#) and used to identify messages on a specific topic.”

Now, this may seem like an easy concept: just pick some keywords and you’re good to go, right? Well, there is a little bit more nuance to it. Since hashtags are essential for people to be able to find what they want efficiently, here are some of the do’s and don’ts on how to make your hashtag usage effective for your business.

The Dos

  • Use hashtags. This may seem like a given, but many people don’t put any hashtags on whatever content they’re producing. Statistics show that content gets 50 percent more engagement by using hashtags than it does without.
  • Look at popular hashtags. For whatever social media platform you’re using, there are going to be particular hashtags that are more popular than others, and there are plenty of sites to help you find them. If you do your research and see what crosses over from your content to popular posts, you may just get more popular content.
  • Pick relevant hashtags. Sometimes, you may want to use all the hashtags that seem to be popular. Though this is a good way to get initial exposure, it might not be great in the long run. When people search for hashtags, they are looking for the content to match. If they see something they aren’t looking for, they’re just going to go right past it.
  • Follow hashtag trends. The Internet is constantly changing and less predictable than the weather. However, we can still try to keep on top of current events by seeing what’s going on in the world. For example, this Monday was Presidents’ Day: if you posted something on that day, you could have added the #PresidentsDay hashtag (which earned 140k tweets) and get a lot more views.
  • Think outside the box. With so many people using the same hashtags, it’s important to also add some of your own flair. There are a lot of typical hashtags that you can do, and while those are important, it’s also good to make your own thing, put in your own branding, come up with something new that will set you apart from the crowd, and make it easier to find your content. Get creative with it.

 

The Don’ts

  • Only use popular hashtags. Yes, using popular hashtags are important, but if you’re only using those, you are greatly limiting your ability to reach people. Popular hashtags are never going to be specific enough for what you make. The hashtags you put on a post give your audience a taste of what they can expect, so always defaulting to the cookie-cutter popular tags isn’t going to catch people’s interest.
  • Always use the same hashtags. Say that you get someone to look at your content; you’re exactly what they’re looking for, and they want to see what else you have to offer. Well, if you always use the same hashtags for everything you post, how are they going to find something more specific? This can get tedious pretty fast and turn people away.
  • Date yourself. Riding trends are a good way to get your content noticed, but those trends come at a cost: everyone knows when they were posted, and they quickly become outdated. If you put a Presidents’ Day hashtag on your post, it’s not going to get a lot of views after that until the next Presidents’ Day. Pace yourself with riding trends and producing good content, and you’ll find a happy medium.
  • Make your hashtags too long. However, you may think that length will make your hashtags more specific; all it really does is make them illegible (e.g., #ourcompanyissogreat #wepostthingslikethiseveryday #checkoutallofourotherconent). Save the extra letters for the description.
  • Be afraid to use hashtags. There are many jokes about how “Millennials are always using hashtags” and how everything has to have a hashtag now, but there is a reason for it. The more you have, the more descriptive you can be and the more people you’re going to reach.

 

This has been a quick guide on how to use hashtags more effectively. Though there are many more tips and tricks you can use, these are the most important to know right off the bat.