Are hashtags important?

Are Hashtags Important

We often get asked ‘Are hashtags important?’ But before we go into that, let me just make it clear that they don’t work well for all social media platforms and they have to be used correctly.

There is often a lot of confusion around hashtags and there is nothing worse than seeing them used for clickbait rather than genuine post authenticity.

So, to help you along here are my top tips to why hashtags are important and how you can make them work for you and your business.

 

Hashtags make your content easy to find

 

When people are interested in a specific subject, they will follow the hashtag that relates to it. Even if they don’t follow, all they have to do is pop that hashtag into the search bar and all content related to it will appear.

That means that if you have used that hashtag in a post, your content is likely to appear and will be found easily by those who want to read it.

 

Hashtags get you seen by the right people

 

The great thing about people following a hashtag or actually searching for it is their interest in that subject. For example, if someone searches #socialmedia, it’s likely that they have a specific interest in that subject, and it may just be that they are looking for help.

If your content appears, it means that you will be seen by the right people. Those who are really interested in what you have to say. Your target audience! Of course, there are other ways to get to your target audience. Here are some tips to create the best content for your audience.

 

Industry and trending topics

 

Hashtags aren’t just useful for your followers. They are great for you too. If you want to find great content for your industry or topics that are trending right now, you can easily do so.

By doing this, it means that you can stay current and create content that people are reading at this moment in time.

It’s a great way to get ideas about content and how you can use that on your own platforms.

 

Watch out for competitors

 

Are you checking on your competitors to see what they are posting? What hashtags are they using and most importantly, what’s working well for them?

If they are appearing regularly in that hashtag, they are getting something right. It also works if you want to see what’s not working for them.

Look at what they are doing well, write your own content and smash theirs out of the park.

Of course, it’s not just about the hashtag, your content needs to be creative and well thought out too.

 

Don’t use too many hashtags

 

Hashtags are important but they can also work against you if you don’t use them properly. For example, using thirty hashtags in one post will drown your message and the message won’t be effective.

There are different rules for different platforms which I’ll go into a little later but generally, stick to three to five great hashtags per post.

They need to be relevant to the post. There is no point in using #lovemyjob in a post about going to the park with your kids. It’s not relevant.

It’s important to use popular hashtags as long as they are in context with your post, but more about that later.

 

Create your own hashtag

 

Creating your own hashtag is a fantastic way to create brand awareness. Obviously, it won’t be amongst the most popular hashtags because it’s unique to you but if it’s good, it will make you easily recognisable.

For example, when we first started out, no-one could remember our business name, so they referred to us as the girls in pink. We latched on to this and created the hashtag #girlsinpink.

This has become our trademark. Others post about us using that hashtag and we are now widely known as the girls in pink.

The important thing to remember is that it has to be catchy and you have to use it in every single post so make sure you leave room for it.

 

Keep your hashtag relevant

 

Going back to my previous point, if the hashtag isn’t relevant to the post, there is no point in using it. If you are just spamming with random hashtags because you think they are popular, not only will you lose momentum from your followers, but you will also be picked up as spamming by the platform itself.

You can find popular hashtags that are relevant to your post by searching for them in the search box on the platforms or do a quick Google search.

 

Make sure your hashtags mean what you think

 

This can be quite a funny error but also, catastrophic. Before you use what you think is a popular hashtag, just check the meaning first.

National days are a perfect example. Make sure you have the right day for the right hashtag or you will simply be making a hash of the post.

 

Keep your hashtags short & sweet

 

There is nothing worse than seeing a hashtag that’s ridiculously long and difficult to read. For a start, these mean nothing and won’t be picked up by anyone or anything and people will switch off by the third letter if it’s hard work.

Keep your hashtags short and easy to read. Trust me, #thisisjustridiculous is going nowhere!

You also need to watch out for spelling and characters. Hashtags don’t recognise an apostrophe, comma or any other special character and they won’t be picked up if you have even one letter out of place.

 

Platform differences

 

Different social media platforms work in different ways so you should maximise on the individual opportunities.

For example;

Facebook haven’t really backed hashtags. There really isn’t much point in using them on this platform which is ironic as they own Instagram. But the fact remains, they are pointless!

Instagram is a fun; informal platform and you can use up to 30 hashtags in each post. Whilst we wouldn’t recommend this, it is a place where you can use more than the norm. As long as you’re following the rules above, hashtags work very well on this platform.

Twitter is the home of hashtags. It’s their whole basis so you should absolutely be using them on this social media platform. However, with such limited characters available, the point about relevance is far more prevalent here. Make sure they are short, easy to read and very relevant to your post.

LinkedIn has really embraced hashtags and they work really well on this platform. You often see that someone is trending, and this means that their post is performing well under a particular hashtag.

 

This is great news for the poster as it means they are getting to people who follow that hashtag, making their content far more meaningful. LinkedIn is definitely not a platform to rule out when it comes to hashtags.

So, are hashtags important? Yes because social media embraces them, but they aren’t the be-all and end-all.

You won’t necessarily get more engagement by using them, the content of the post is what should be your main focus, but they certainly do help you to be seen by the right people.

 

You know where I am if you need me!

Verity Wilkie
verity@imcprosolutions.co.uk
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