Best Practices for Using Hashtags

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Written By Robert Dunford
I am a Marketing Consulting in the Great Toronto Area with over 25 years experience in building and implementing marketing plans for small business.

Do you use hashtags when you’re on social media? Hashtags originated on Twitter and quickly spread out on to become an integral part of every social media marketing strategy. Hashtags (when done right) can be a powerful tool for generating exposure and engaging the right kind of audience on social media. But do you know how to use hashtags properly?

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Here are a few ideas on how to get the most out of using hashtags to promote your content.

  1. Keep Your Hashtags Short

The best practice is to keep your hashtags short; even though you’ll see a mix of lengths. Short hashtags are ideal for platforms where you have limited space for updates and are easier to remember.

      2. Check for Uniqueness if you want to start a new hashtag

Before starting a new hashtag that you plan to use regularly, you need to ensure that no one has used it before. If you’re not promoting a unique hashtag, then you’ll invest time and money in supporting a hashtag that someone else launched before you. To check your hashtag for uniqueness, you can use Social Mention and to see whether your hashtag is already in use. If it comes up, then find another one to use.

      3. Hashtags are Used Differently on Different Platforms

It’s imperative to know the conventions of hashtag-use across different social media platforms. For example, Twitter character limits, so the best approach is to use 2-3 short hashtags. On Facebook and Pinterest, you should use only a few hashtags because it can demote your content in search results. When it comes to posting on Facebook, use hashtags in branded campaigns to get more exposure. As for Instagram, you can use up to 30 hashtags. You can also add them to the comments, delete them after a while, and then add some more.

      4. Stay Away from “Bashtags”

A bashtag is a hashtag with an entirely different meaning than the one you intended. Do your research on to see the definition of your hashtag. Also, if people don’t look at your brand the same way you do, it can do you harm even if the meaning is OK. See how McDonald’s failed with #McDStories hashtag.

      5. Stay on Top of Trends

See which hashtags are trending on which social media platforms.   Using trending hashtags can make you seem more relevant to your target audience. If a specific trending hashtag is pertinent to your brand, integrate the topic into your brand identity.

      6. Use of Capitals

Capitalizing your hashtag is not essential for search, but it is vital for improving readability and brand recognition. The longer the hashtag, the more likely it is misread. Capitalize your long, multi-word hashtags for clarity.

      7. Be Consistent

Hashtags usually take weeks before they begin to gain any traction, like all marketing efforts. Use your hashtag consistently, retweet and favorite your followers when they use them, and you’ll start building momentum.

Start using hashtags in your social media campaign, if you haven’t by now, because therein lies a world of opportunities. And you’ll manage to get your brand the exposure it deserves by learning when and how to use them correctly. Keep them simple to spell and short, make them memorable and use them to convey a clear message to your audience. Contact me for website and SEO services, and we can work together to increase your online exposure.

All you need is time (4-6 months) and patience and you can get that new business through digital marketing efforts.   If you need results quicker, a website refresh and pay per click (PPC) program may be better suited to your needs.   Contact me.  We can discuss strategy on the phone or get a coffee.

Rob Dunford is a Marketing Consulting in the Great Toronto Area with over 20 years experience in building and implementing marketing plans for small business.

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