How to avoid making a hash of your hashtags
Hashtags are a fundamental part of writing social media posts.
Used correctly, they can make your posts stand out. You can also use them to find relevant content from individuals and businesses.
There’s a hashtag for pretty much everything these days, but back in the day, you only used to find the little symbol on Twitter. Over the years, hashtag usage has mushroomed (just like social has) and they’re now used far and wide within conversations on platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest. And while it may be a little late to the party, YouTube has also recently started to allow its users to add hashtags to their descriptions and video titles too.
Mastering the use of hashtags isn’t rocket science, but there is a right and a wrong way of incorporating them into your copy. Let’s take a look at some of the common hashtag mistakes that tend to catch people out:
It can be difficult to whittle your hashtags down to a core set of hashtags when there are so many of them to choose from! But that doesn’t mean you should add them all into your posts and hope for the best.
Overdoing it will kill your message and mean people will be less likely to read your updates. Personally, (and based on best practice) I aim for around three to four per post. Less is more and all that…
If you add in enough hashtags or use the ones that everybody else seems to be using, then your posts’ll get noticed at some point, right? Wrong.
Just as you’d research your keywords and phrases for digital copy, you should also do the same for social. And if you’ve got a particular hashtag in mind, but aren’t too sure about it, then pop it into Twitter, or whichever social channel you’re posting on, and see what type of content it brings up.
There are some handy tools out there that can help you with your research. They include Hashtagify, RiteTag, Tweet Archivist and Trendsmap, which is particularly useful for pinpointing local hashtags. I’ll explain more about this type of tag in the next point….
One of the biggest mistakes people make, is choosing hashtags that are way too generic, such as #businesses #success, #tips and #results.
While it’s not ‘wrong’ to use generic hashtags, it does mean that your posts will wind up appearing alongside a sea of thousands of other posts, all vying for people’s attention. Going generic may get you a sprinkling of likes, but that’s about all it’ll do.
Local hashtags are incredibly powerful because they mean you can go from fishing in the ocean, to a relatively small pond.
They’re particularly useful if you have a venue or are holding an event that you want to attract people to. They’re also a really effective way of forging more local connections within your local community. For instance, I’m based in Worcestershire, so I often use hashtags, such as #WorcestershireHour, #MalvernHour and even just plain old #Worcestershire to stand out on a local level.
(A little tip for you….if you’re taking part in or are supporting an event, then see if there’s a hashtag associated with it. Use it to get your posts noticed by others who are also following and using it. And, if you’re staging an event, then make sure you create a relevant hashtag for it).
Hashtags are huge. Use them blindly and you may achieve some degree of success although it’ll be very much a hit and miss affair. Use them strategically and do your research and review and refine your usage, and you’ll have a much greater chance of your posts appearing in front of your target audience. #goodluck!
Got any questions or want to discuss your social media requirements with me? Contact me on 07810 636 748 or complete the short form and I’ll get back to you right away.