Hashtags are being extensively used on different social media as a powerful tool for communication. Popularised and started on Twitter, hashtags are now used on different social media platforms, including Facebook, Google Plus and Pinterest. In simple words, hashtags are keywords preceded by a # symbol. If you use # as a prefix for any word, it acts as a searchable link and takes you to all the conversations that include the hashtagged word. Thus, hashtag is used to categorise content on social media, allowing users to easily discover content on a particular theme or interest. It expands your reach to a wider audience beyond your followers.
Hashtags are keywords without any spaces. A hashtag can have multiple words, provided they are grouped together without any space separating them. If you want to distinguish between the grouped words, capitalize the starting alphabet of each word. For e.g.: Instead of #iwishicould you can use #IWishICould to differentiate between words and send the message across more effectively. Whilst numerical are supported by a hashtag, a hashtag is devoid of punctuation marks or any special characters.
Some Do’s and Don’ts on How to Use Hashtags:
1) Do incorporate hashtags for important keywords:
If you are a diet and nutrition company, you can hashtag #healthyliving, #diet in your tweets. This will not only expand your reach beyond your followers, but also to the right audience that are talking about a balanced diet and healthy living.
2) Do research before you select a hashtag:
Before you select a particular hashtag, ask yourself few questions. Who is my target audience? What is the objective of my hashtag? What is the message being conveyed through my hashtag? Your hashtag should give you a satisfactory answer for each question. Additionally, observe the tone/phrases used by your target audience. This will help you in choosing a hashtag that your audience will like and can relate to.
3) Do not use too many words in a hashtag:
A hashtag should be short and effective. Do not use #onelonghashtagtodescribeanentiresentence. Long hashtags are confusing and a turn-off for users. Besides, no one wants to waste so many words writing a big hashtag, especially when the post limitation is of 140 characters on Twitter. Whilst hashtags are meant to grab attention and evoke conversation, long hashtags end up being ignored.
4) Do not overuse hashtag:
#Have #you #ever #found #an #annoying #post #like #this? Yes, reading a post having hashtags for almost each and every word is totally frustrating. Using hashtags for every word makes the company look desperate for attention. Abusing hashtags can result in decreased engagement and in turn loss of followers.
5) Don’t use irrelevant hashtags:
When a particular hashtag is widely used and talked about by many people, it starts trending. Since a trending hashtag caters to a vast audience, many social media marketing services providers try to take advantage. Whilst using a trending hashtag cleverly is an art, forcibly using it in your tweets without any relevance is a mistake. For e.g.: When #Cairo was trending because of a serious uprising happening in Egypt, a fashion designer Kenneth Cole tweeted: “Millions are in an uproar in #Cairo. Rumour is they heard our new spring collection is now available online.” This resulted in a negative overhaul on social media for the insensitive comment. Thus, using a trending hashtag without proper research and relevance can cause serious damage to your reputation.
Since one wrong hashtag can cause thousands of negative comments and hamper a company’s online presence, the responsibility of creating and maintaining brand reputation should be given to a professional social media marketing company.
Bal Rai is an Internet Marketing Consultant at eTrack Media, one of the leading Social media marketing companies in Redditch that provides social media marketing (SMM) and twitter marketing services to clients in Redditch, Bromsgrove, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands.