The Hash On Hashtags
Hashtags are the digital marketing version of trying to rap along to an Outkast song – you don’t really know the lyrics but you like the idea of being able to rap that fast, so you just try to make it work.
Hashtags are equally the most overused and underused aspect of digital marketing. Here are some free tips to optimize your use of them and avoid potential pitfalls:
1) Hashtags work differently on different platforms – between Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram, different numbers impact engagement. It’s not a good idea to repeat Instagram copy over to Facebook at the same time anyway, but if you do, I'd suggest you remove the hashtags first.
2) Hashtags are basically your SEO on Instagram, but on Facebook they are a waste of time. Read on…
3) On Instagram your reach will increase using up to 30 hashtags in one post. Correct, they don’t look great and its hard to make your caption text pretty with all those hashtags underneath – but they are (currently) the cheapest way to grow fast organic reach within the platform.
New functionality means people can now follow a hashtag and have results show up in their Feed, so taking the time to add hashtags is worth it.
4) On Facebook, hashtag search functionality is there but they don’t really deliver anything - currently they don’t increase performance in your posts and analytics show posts without hashtags on the platform perform better.
If you’re using hashtags on Facebook to enhance your content or because they’re part of your brand strategy, go for it! I do! But if you’re using them to increase your engagement, search ranking or reach, they won’t help at the moment.
5) On Pinterest, the hashtag functionality is actually quite new. They appear as clickable buttons below your pin – I’d suggest 15 hashtags maximum because they can bump your caption down.
Want to create your own hashtag?
Go for it – but check if anyone else is using it first.
For example, our employee hashtag brand is #digizens – we checked first to ensure no large organisations or charities are using it, or that it wasn’t swept up in some controversial dialogue we don’t want to be associated with.
And lastly, check your hashtag in both Initial Caps and lowercase – recently poor Susan Boyle was caught up in a hashtag situation for her album launch where the hashtag read #susanalbumparty. While she DID get some unexpected PR coverage for it – it wasn’t the right kind.
Please follow us on Insta @digital_citizens_nz for more marketing, social and PR tips, or if you’d like to talk to us about Social Media Management for your brand, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. #thanks #for #reading