The hashtag. Met with negativity when it was first suggested by Chris Messina in 2007, it’s now one of the most widely used symbols on the internet. They are an effective way to increase engagement on your posts and to reach out to new audiences – but should they be used differently according to the social media platform you’re using? We’ve created a simple guide to hashtagging to ensure you’re getting the most out of your social media posts.
What is a hashtag?
Placing # in front of a word makes that word a hashtag. There are different types of hashtags: brand hashtags, like #guidesforbrides or #gfbawards, trending hashtags, like #MondayMotivation and content hashtags like #weddingdress (i.e. exactly what’s in a photograph or post). Hashtags are clickable – meaning you can find all tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram posts using that hashtag, making it an incredibly effective communication tool.
What platforms use hashtags?
All social media platforms use hashtags, but some more than others. The main channels for hashtags are Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Although you can use hashtags on Facebook, this tends to decrease engagement on your posts.
What should I write in my hashtags?
The most important thing is that they are the type of thing someone might search for – this is the whole point of hashtags. For example, a couple planning their wedding might search Instagram for #WeddingIdeas. They are probably not, however, going to search for #WeddingDressSale7January2018. Make your hashtags short and snappy, and consider whether someone might search for that term.
How many hashtags should I use?
There have been recent studies about the effect of hashtags on social media engagement. Follow these rules:
Use no more than two hashtags on Twitter – any more and you’ll see a decrease in engagement.
Use loads of hashtags on Instagram (as many relevant ones as you can think of) BUT, put them in a separate comment, not your caption. This will work in exactly the same way, but keep your Instagram caption short.
Don’t use hashtags on Facebook, unless it’s part of your brand or you’re using it like a title, for example ‘Our #WeddingDressOfTheWeek is…’. If in doubt, don’t use hashtags on Facebook.
Use hashtags on your pin’s description on Pinterest. Use niche hashtags that will lead people straight to your content.
How can I find relevant hashtags for my posts?
One of the most effective ways of finding hashtags is by searching them! Have a look at what your competitors are using and see if they would work for your brand. Think of some hashtag ideas and search them on the social media platform you’re using – are other people using them, and are they getting engagement from followers? There are also a number of hashtag generators online to help you find popular hashtags.
The most important thing is to test! Use different combinations of hashtags on different posts and measure which work better – keep a list of them in the notes on your phone so you can always go back when your in need of some #hashtagspiration.
What about Twitter chats?
You may have seen Twitter chats using hashtags like #WeddingWednesday or #WeddingHour. These are a fabulous way to engage with likeminded businesses and your audience. These Twitter chats use a specific hashtag which must be used in every post in order to join the conversation. Engage with relevant Twitter chats to increase your brand exposure.
Make sure your hashtags are things that people are likely to search for
Use no more than 2 hashtags on Twitter
Use hashtags on Pinterest
Use as many relevant hashtags as possible on Instagram (a mixture of niche and broad terms), write them in a comment not the caption
Find relevant Twitter chats to attend
Tag @guidesforbrides in your social media posts and we’ll engage with every one we see!
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