A hashtag is a keyword or phrase preceded by the hash symbol (#), that people include in their social media posts. Essentially, it makes the content of your post accessible to all people with similar interests, even if they’re not your followers or fans. For instance, let’s say you’re an Apple fan and that you’re playing with the idea of buying an iPhone 5. A simple “#iPhone5″ search on any social network will open a dedicated news feed with all iPhone 5 latest updates, deals, rumors and hacks. The results you see on this feed are the aggregated posts of any users who used “#iPhone5″ in their posts. But usually, users don’t actively search for hashtags, but simply spot them. Hashtags appear as clickable links on posts they see and a mouse click will display a real-time live feed of every other post tagged with the same hashtag.
How Can Using #Hashtags Help you Promote your Business?
Assuming your social media profile is public, using hashtags make your posts visible to basically anyone who shares your interest. No longer are your posts limited to just your followers; your content is now accessible to all other users interested in similar topics. Choosing the right hashtag can greatly broaden the reach of your social media posts to thousands of potential followers, fans or customers.
Creating an Effective Hashtag:
If you want to create a hashtag, you just have to include a # and a relevant keyword or phrase following it. Hashtags can be inserted anywhere in your social media posts: front, middle or end; it’s based on your personal preference. The position of the hashtag doesn’t really matter, as long as it remains relevant. Remember, hashtags are powerful only when used wisely. A cluttered post which has excessive hashtags or overly lengthy hashtags are enough to turn people off, e.g. #ThisExtraLongHashtagIsSoMeaningless.
As a golden rule of thumb, try to keep your hashtags to a maximum of two or three for Twitter. When it comes to Instagram, the ideal number of hashtags is five. But, above all, use clear, unique and relevant hashtags.
Three Powerful Types Hashtags for Social Media:
On the other hand, if your post is genuinely informative, viral or something funny, it might get re-shared by fellow users and thereby increase the awareness of your brand. One such occasion for trending topic is Valentine’s Day, when many brands and companies hop on the #ValentinesDay bandwagon.
To sum it all, the key to creating an effective brand-specific hashtag is ensuring that no one else is using the same hashtag. Also, make sure it is relevant, unique and memorable. For general branding purpose, you can use a short motto or tagline. When you are creating marketing campaign-specific hashtags, ensure that users get a compelling incentive to use the hashtags. For instance, getting users to post with a campaign-specific hashtag and giving them a chance to win prizes or get discounts. In return, your brand gets the chance to benefit from viral marketing publicity.