Nowadays, we can see hashtags on almost every social media platform we use. These metadata tags first appeared on Twitter and then found their way to all of our online social interactions. In this article, we will see what a hashtag is, and how we can use it to promote our business.
What Is a Hashtag?
A hashtag is any word or phrase that comes after the hash symbol (#), without any punctuation or spacing. The hash symbol or the pound sign is not something new in our digital world. It has been used in programming languages since 1970. But in fact, Chris Messina is known as the inventor of hashtags. He posted the first hashtag on Twitter in 2007. Since then, hashtags have made significant contributions to social movements.
Hashtags allow people to easily find and join conversations related to a specific topic and categorize them. Anyone who wants to share content about a topic, can use the relative hashtag label. Others looking for that topic, can look for that label on the same social media platform to find more posts. In the world of social marketing, hashtags are a must. You can use them to promote your products and services. They increase the organic reach of your posts by categorizing your content and leading the intended audience to your page.
What Are the Different Types of Hashtags?
Using relevant, targeted hashtags on social media platforms is one of the most effective methods to reach new consumers. A suitable hashtag approach not only reaches more people but also attracts the right audience to your company. Therefore, finding the best hashtags is important. There are three types of hashtags you can include in your content:
1. Branded Hashtags
Branded hashtags are exclusive hashtags of your business. Your company name, tagline, and your product name can all be used as your branded hashtag. Your branded hashtag can also be a phrase about your brand identity. The hashtag you choose should have 3 features: relevance, memorability and uniqueness. As mentioned before, your branded hashtag should concern your business. Unrelated hashtags have no benefits. Your hashtag must be unique. It should not create conflicts with an existing hashtag or username on a social network. Your hashtag must be memorable. Keep your hashtag as short as possible. Long hashtags are hard to remember. This issue is also important on some social media platforms where you only have a limited number of characters. Encouraging your customers and followers to use your branded hashtags in their posts can enable new audience to discover you.
2. Community Hashtags
To find the best community hashtags, you should conduct research into your audience and competitors. Look for hashtags which represent your service, product or career e.g., #SkinProducts #WebDesigner. Hashtags related to specific events or places are also beneficial, like #Thanksgiving #SanFrancisco. Other types of community hashtags can be acronyms, daily hashtags, and relevant phrases, for instance: #tbt #MotivationMonday #ILoveCoding. Moreover, there are some tools that help you find the best hashtags based on your content. Using a variety of community hashtags in your posts and stories, allows your content to reach a wider audience.
3. Campaign Hashtags
Branded and community hashtags can be used for a long time. But campaign hashtags are typically active for a short time. You can use campaign hashtags to promote new products, discounts, giveaways, holidays, contests and causes. Now, let’s take a brief look at two great strategies big brands used, to create a campaign hashtag and hype their name:
- Find a hot conversational topic, then identify an issue related to your brand and make a hashtag. Airbnb did this with the #WeAccept hashtag. Regarding Trump’s immigration ban, they made the #WeAccept hashtag. Using this hashtag, they started a campaign to spread humanity and also promote their business.
- Begin a contest to advertise and increase interest in your business or products. Offering a prize for people who use your campaign hashtag can make them interested in participating on social media. Starbucks used this strategy with the #RedCupContest hashtag. They asked their customers to post pictures of their coffee cups on social media to win a prize. The #RedCupContest improved brand awareness and also increased sales.
How to Use Hashtags?
By concentrating your efforts on hashtags, you make it simpler for your audience to learn more about your business and its promotions. Hashtags are straightforward concepts. There are only a few technical requirements to be aware of:
- There should be no space in a hashtag. Only letters, digits, and underscores can be included. Be aware that if you are using numbers, your hashtag must include at least one letter. For example, #123 is not correct.
- Hashtags are not case sensitive. #skycomputer and #SkyComputer are the same. But embedded capitals improve legibility and accessibility.
- Account suspensions can occur if hashtags are misused. Do not add them to unrelated tweets and don’t use the same hashtag repeatedly without joining a conversation. Because it can suspend an account or remove it from search results.
- When using hashtags for a particular event, choose a cryptic phrase. It helps you avoid getting caught up in generic conversations about similar topics. However, this might make it difficult for the topic to become a trend.
- Depending on the social media platform you are using, add a specific number of hashtags to your content. Adding too many hashtags makes your content look spammy. Suggested number of hashtags for popular social media platforms are listed below:
- Instagram: 5-11
- Twitter: 1-2
- Facebook: 1-2
- LinkedIn: 3
- Pinterest: up to 20
- YouTube: 3-5
- TikTok: 4-5