The ever-popular hashtag has made its mark on the social media world from its humble beginnings on Twitter to its quick spread to platforms like Google+, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram. (Alas, it’s not on LinkedIn anymore.) But if you’re already active on social media, you’re probably wondering why you should bother with hashtags. Do they really make a difference to your social media strategy?
Let me put it this way: Yes!
Before we go any further, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about what hashtags are. They look like this: #
When that little symbol is placed in front of text, that text becomes hyperlinked. Clicking on it shows all other instances where people used that hashtagged text. For example, if you wanted to know more about social media, clicking on #socialmedia on any of the above mentioned networks shows you other posts about that topic that included the hashtag #socialmedia. It’s a way to organize content for efficient searching.
But anyways, if you’re involved in the social sphere the following statistics can back up the claim that hashtags are definitely worth your time:
- Hashtagged tweets receive two times more engagement than tweets without them
- Tweets with one or more hashtags are 55 percent more likely to be retweeted
- On Instagram, posts with 11 or more hashtags have the most interactions. (So go crazy!)
(Sources: Twitter, HubSpot, TrackMaven)
And of course, hashtags also extend reach to your target market, help your content get found, and improve your SEO. In a time where everyone’s fighting for their little piece of the social media space, there’s no way you can pass up those freebies!
Putting it into Practice
If you’re just getting started at hashtagging you can search for hashtags in the search bar of any social network by typing # before the word and try incorporating a few popular ones in your messages. (Just make sure you read some messages including the hashtag so you can make sure the context is appropriate.) You can use them in place of words you would normally type, like our #socialmedia example, or place them at the end.
If you’d like to make your own, try thinking of a short, simple phrase that would compliment your message. Type it out with the pound sign like so.
Read it aloud, and try to mentally set aside the words you intended. This will help you avoid the embarrassment of an accidentally inappropriate hashtag! It might help to have a friend look at it, too. In our example, the intended message is “hashtag love” but it could also be read as “hashta-glove.” There’s nothing wrong with this (it doesn’t even make sense!) It just shows how hashtags can be interpreted in different ways.
If you’re satisfied, try searching it on social networks to see if it’s already being used. If not, you’ve just made yourself a brand new hashtag to use in your messages! Not every hashtag is popular, but with a little luck it could start trending.
Ready to claim all the benefits of hashtags? Check out How To Use #Hashtag Marketing for Your Business. And If you liked this post, please share it on Twitter using #hashtaglove.
Photo Credit: Flickr.com