Who could forget Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s hilarious “#Hashtag” sketch that cemented the term into the American public’s dictionary, but what is the exact definition and benefits of this social media tool? Listen as our Social Media Strategist Shelby gives us a brief definition.
Hashtags originally began on Twitter, but now have spread to almost all social media outlets including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus and even YouTube. Like Shelby said, hashtags allow the public to organize conversations, comment on TV shows or public events and engage in conversations online, but how do you go about using a hashtag? I’m glad you asked!
# Concise, conversational, unique
Whatever you choose to make your hashtag, it has to be unique, but easy enough for the public to remember when they would like to use it. With so many hashtags on the Web, you want to make your hashtag simple and easy to spell, so users are sure they don’t miss out on the conversation by using the wrong hashtag. Also keep in mind the length, especially on Twitter. With only 140 characters, you don’t want your hashtag to cut off the user’s message.
#. Don’t overuse
It’s funny when Justin and Jimmy do it, but when brands overuse hashtags, it just tends to be annoying. Keep the campaign simple and to the point; your picture does not need five hashtags.
#. Cross promote across all channels
Think of hashtags as a connector of the social web. When working toward building an identity between your brand and the hashtag, it is essential to cross promote across all platforms. Again, you want to be careful with overuse. On Twitter, hashtags are second nature, but you do not want to annoy your audiences on other social channels by overuse.
#. Search the hashtag before using
The worst thing that could happen is that you use a hashtag, and then later you find out it is used for something completely different. Now your brand is associated with something that you probably won’t want to be. If history has taught us anything, it is always do your research!
#. Take advantage of real time content
Check out the trending topics/tags on each social channel and don’t be afraid to join in on the conversation. This keeps your brand up-to-date about what is happening in your industry and will also help you build relationships with new audiences. Remember, it is OK to use general hashtags such as #marketing, as well.
Always make sure you are using the right hashtag, at the right time, to reach the right audience. What other tips do you have when it comes to hashtags? We would love to hear them.