November 16th, 2015 | 3 min
What Is A Hashtag?
Did you know that Tweets that include hashtags can increase engagement by up to 1,065% compared to Tweets without any? But what exactly is a hashtag? The truth is, they are simply a way to categorise online conversations using a relevant word or phrase. Think of them as the subject line in your email! In this post, we will discuss what makes a hashtag and some handy tips to help you create your own.
Anyone can search for one or create their own by simply highlighting the relevant word or phrase using the ‘#’ symbol. Once you search for it you can see every post ever made using that hashtag. The popular ones become what is known as a ‘trending topic’ which can be local, national or even worldwide.
This simple feature that started on Twitter has exploded and spread across to other social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Google+, but they’re most common on Twitter and Instagram because users can search what they’re looking for by simply searching for a hashtag.
Even though it’s a straightforward concept, it has fallen victim to heavy misuse. Not everything can be randomly made into a hashtag; the most effective are those that reflect something well-known happening in the world at that given time like a major event, or possibly something reoccurring like a TV programme. Other effective, popular tags are usually based around recognisable content, such as brands. In fact, 7 out of 10 hashtags used on Instagram are branded.
These are six simple steps we came up with to show you the correct way to use hashtags:
1. Don’t #Over-Tag #A #Single #Post
We’ve already established how popular hashtags really are, however, we all know there is nothing more aggravating than over-tagging a post, especially if the hashtags aren’t relevant! In fact, Twitter recommends using no more than two per single Tweet. There are no restrictions on how many you can use, but Tweets that have one or two tend to be the most effective.
2. Format Hashtags Correctly
One thing you can’t do is use punctuation or spaces in a hashtag. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use more than one word. Twitter just recommends that you capitalise every word so each word is clear to read individually, e.g. #IHeartBraveCreative!
3. Check A Hashtags Meaning
If you are planning on using hashtags for marketing purposes, you might want to take into account that they can be created by anyone, anywhere in the world! Therefore, It’s worth taking a few seconds to check the meaning of your hashtag before hitting the send button and potentially sending the completely wrong message to your followers.
4. Use Search Friendly Hashtags
The key is to have substance and be specific. For example, If you’re going to create a hashtag that you want to be discovered by people interested in wedding dresses, you will find that there is a difference between tagging #WeddingDresses and #Wedding #Dresses.
The first option will actually generate the best results because when someone searches for #WeddingDresses they’ll find your page a lot easier than if they searched for something more generic like #Wedding or #Dresses. In simple terms, someone who types just dresses into the search bar isn’t necessarily going to come across dresses for a wedding!
5. Be Creative
The simplest advice we can offer you is to be creative, but simple and short. Hashtags can be used to insert some context to your statement, whether it’s with humour or just to add some clarity to the point you’re making. It’s easy, you’ve already learnt how to make a point in 140 characters so the rest is nothing compared to that.
6. Research What’s Trending
If you want to maximise visibility on a post, take a look at Twitter’s ‘Trending’ feature which you can find under the magnifying glass icon on mobile devices or the ‘Explore’ section in the left-hand bar on desktop devices. Using a trending hashtag means your tweet will show within the trending topics news feed. Don’t forget to always keep it relevant!
Where Do I Find More Advice?
If you want more advice on what hashtags might be suitable for your business or you need guidance on creating your own marketing campaign using hashtags, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our marketing experts today on 01733 602020.