How you look at hashtags depends on when you were born. Most of the generations that came before millennials see # and automatically think of the pound sign. Now, in the digital age where social media reigns supreme, we have co-opted the pound sign and turned it into a hashtag – Oxford even added it into the dictionary.
Hashtags came into popularity with Twitter. There was a time when Twitter was all the rage for social media marketing because their innovative hashtag feature made it easier for the audience to both find and engage with businesses the world over.
When Instagram exploded onto the scene it really made hashtags “cool” again. Hashtags have become so pervasive in our world that pretty much every social media engine gives you the ability to use them. That being said, each social platform has its own unique set of challenges and etiquette when using hashtags – you don’t want to be the business who looks super lame because you didn’t know the hashtag etiquette.
When Twitter made hashtags mainstream it was fun to use them pretty much all the time. Entire posts could be made using hashtags and no one would think twice. Those days are gone. Putting a few hashtags at the end of your sentence is the way to go now. You can mention someone in your post, but that’s it. You are definitely limited because of the 140 character limit, so keep your hashtags short!
In their quest to be the king of social media marketing, Facebook implemented hashtags as a perk to businesses looking to increase their following. The platform gave users searchable hashtag capabilities a long time ago, it just never seemed to resonate with the people. So in general, hashtag etiquette on Facebook is to not use them. If you just can’t help yourself, use one just to show humour or brand personality as Facebook users tend to get instantly turned off by more than one hashtag.
Instagram is all about the hashtags. Well, pictures AND hashtags. There’s a reason why Instagram is one of the most popular platforms for social media marketing, it is so hashtag-able. People are always searching up hashtags and finding / engaging with businesses that way. There is definitely strategy involved when hashtagging for Insta. You are allowed 30 hashtags on each post, but that doesn’t mean you have to use them all.
- Use 3-4 super popular hashtags. Ie. #fashion, #love #tbt to get you some immediate traction. Your post will get buried rather quickly, but it’s ok because you have other tags.
- Increase engagement with 6-7 hashtags that have thousands of posts associated with them. A good strategy for these are tags that are geographically significant to your business. #calgary #yyc #yycliving are some of the most popular in Calgary.
- Try 4-5 niche hashtags that are specific to your industry or business. These are often associated with your geography. Ie. #yycwebdesign #calgarydesign.
- Lastly, use 1 or 2 branded hashtags – those are tags that you came up with yourself that are used only for your business or campaign.
Of course there is also Snapchat, but it doesn’t use hashtags. That could be part of the reason that businesses haven’t flocked to that platform for their marketing needs.
Make use of these tips and you will never look like the weird business who has no idea how to properly use social media again. If the many nuances of social media marketing is making your head spin, give us a call! We can help get your social platforms running smoothly.