There are two types of people (and digital marketing companies) in the world: those who use #ridiculous #amounts #of #hashtags, and those who use none. However, when it comes to reaching your audience, are either of these methods wrong? Many digital marketing agencies believe that using hashtags in your social media campaign is the ideal way to gain more interaction, while others believe hashtags should be used sparingly. 

The question on your lips, by now, is who is right? If you are building a digital marketing strategy that includes social media marketing, you will need to understand the nuances of hashtags on social media. Using the wrong hashtags, or using them in an incorrect manner, might be highly detrimental to your campaign and business reputation overall. Below we take a deeper dive into when and when not use hashtags. 

 

But…What Is A Hashtag?

 

Before we look at using hashtags, it is important to understand what, exactly, a hashtag is. Years before it became a part of social media marketing, the “hashtag” was known as the pound symbol. In 2007, when Twitter began using this symbol to index keywords to improve search results, the hashtag as we know it was born. 

Now, a hashtag can be understood as a word or phrase (not separated by commas) that is preceded by the pound symbol or the hashtag symbol. It is used to aggregate or to relate content to a cause, event, or topic. With millions of social media posts published every minute, using a hashtag will make it easier for users to find your content, especially if it related to a certain cause, event, or topic. 

Hashtags are also an ideal method of tracking the success of your post when using platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Being able to track the progress and success of your social media campaigns will help you to see whether or not you have chosen the right hashtags for your posts. 

Hashtags have become a popular method of expressing emotion on social media (#mood), spreading awareness for certain causes (#animalsanctuary), or even to collate all images for a certain event (#ourwedding). They can be highly effective for digital marketing strategies, but you do need to use them effectively. 

 

When And When Not To Use #Hashtags

 

Now that you understand a little bit more about hashtags and how they came about, there are some guidelines you should follow in order to use them effectively. 

 

  • Sharing A Company Blog Post: Sharing a blog post that has been written by or for your company is an effective form of digital marketing, and this is a case when you can and should use a hashtag. However, it is important that the hashtag you use relates to the content in the blog. For example, if the article is about SEO, use #SEO as the hashtag.

 

  • Making A Serious Post: Sometimes in the marketing world, there are social media posts that take on a serious tone. For example, if you are writing an apology to a customer or are closing your business, using a hashtag is likely not a good idea. Similarly, if you are supporting a serious cause, using more than one relevant hashtag will come across as being spammy and disingenuous. 

 

 

  • Writing A Professional Article Or Post: You have likely heard about LinkedIn as being the premier social media platform for professionals, but you are probably not aware that it has only recently introduced hashtags. While these are used, it is usually not a good idea to use a hashtag when making a professional post (such as looking for work) or when replying to comments on your articles. It can come across as being out-of-touch with the audience. 

 

  • Creating A Social Media Campaign: Arguably one of the best ways to use hashtags is when you are creating or building a social media marketing campaign. You can create your own hashtags, just as Coca-Cola did with the #ShareACoke hashtag. However, be sure to do some research to ensure you are not inadvertently stealing a hashtag from another company or cause. Use your own company name in the hashtag or a phrase used commonly in your office to make sure it is unique. 

 

Popular trends are vital for modern companies, especially as their audiences become more socially active and demand unique content from them. If you are not already using hashtags, you should start to implement them in your social media marketing strategy. 

For those who find social media a little too difficult to understand and manoeuvre, you can chat to the NetMechanic team to find out more about how we can help you.