So why a hashtag for business advertising? If you think about it, a hashtag is used to drive brand recognition, help boost the reach of your advertising campaign, and increase positive customer loyalty. Yup. All from using this little symbol, the hashtag #.
SO what exactly IS a hashtag? I know, this may seem basic, but let’s just do a quick overview.
Now, to some of you, we know this symbol as “the little pound sign” on a phone but in the social media industry, the hashtag is one of the most powerful tools around.
A hashtag is basically a symbol if used before a significant word, it can categorize phrases, context and photos. This way, it can easily show up on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram searches. You can use different “keywords” along with a hashtag, which will make it easier to find and follow discussions, people, topics, events, and of course – your business!
Hashtags increase the odds for you, your business or your brand to be discovered online a lot faster. For example, say someone is scrolling through Instagram searching for Neighborhood Homes or a particular industry – don’t you want to make sure your business shows up? Of course!
When you are choosing a hashtag, make sure it stays within the idea of the post. We’ll get more into this in a bit. So where on Earth are we supposed to FIND these so-called hashtags and keywords? Research and a little brain power. To start - get creative! Think about what you’re posting. What is it? Is it an object? A person? Place? Thing? Or how about an idea? Keep in mind, what popular hashtag is trending today, might be different next week.
Using the power of Google, you can easily research some of the top trending hashtags either on the internet, or within your industry. Simply type in “Popular Hashtags” into the Google search bar and you’ll be shown some of the top trending hashtags as of right now. I can't stress this enough, that whatever hashtaged word is trending today, might not be trending next week. If you notice, #Love is probably one of the most popular hashtaged words on Instagram. Why? Because it’s positive and motivating word. And since it’s become highly circulated on Social Media, it certainly doesn’t hurt to add to your context and posts.
Guess what? Not every Social Media platform needs hashtags!
So you may think that just because a hashtag is a powerful symbol that you should use it all over the place, and between every word and hashtag before a hashtag… STOP! No need to go any further. Why? Not every platform has a need for an overabundance of hashtags.
So how many hashtags should you use for each platform?
Twitter suggests using 1-2 hashtags per post, with of course keeping in mind the 140 character limit per post. Pinterest and Google Plus – if you’re using them, suggest using anywhere from 2-3 hashtags per post. Instagram likes at least 11 or more. I know, it may seem like a lot, but think about Instagram and it’s purpose. People are actually USING hashtags to search and find YOU! (We’ll talk more about this later.) With Facebook it’s suggested 1-2 hashtags per post. But if you don’t have any hashtags that's OK. Why? One of the most common questions, which I’m sure you’re all thinking is, “well what about Facebook?” So, it’s OK to use hashtags if it’s already added to a Facebook campaign, if not, it just isn’t relevant.
Back in 2013, Facebook finally decided to jump on the hashtag bandwagon. You were able to add them to posts and campaigns, making the keywords clickable to see what other user were posting about events, trends or anything else. But as steady research has shown, people just don’t necessarily use Facebook for searchable content. In fact, a 2016 online study analyzed more than a Billion Facebook posts coming from over 30 million major brand Facebook pages and came to the conclusion that posts WITHOUT hashtags got MORE engagement than posts WITH hashtags. To sum it up, I’d stay away from or keep to a minimum your hashtags on Facebook. They aren’t doing anything for your campaign, and could actually be hurting your reach.
I looooove Instagram. Why? It’s this wonderful collection or images, videos and it's overall addictive. A show of hands, Please? How many people here on currently on Instagram? And how many people have a business Instagram account? No wonder, there are 150+ million users! It’s a great way to tell your story, share your inspiration, personality and business. Instagram gets over 1 Billions likes and interactions daily, and out of those 150 million users, 1/3 visit Instagram multiple times per day.
You can engage with other users, share photos and promotions, take behind-the-scenes videos and even tag customers, clients and vendors. The more interaction you have on the platform, the more visibility you’ll have. A tip on using Instagram: you want to keep what you're posting 80% non-business, and 20% product and service. What this means is your non-business should be the fun, creative stuff. The other 20% should showcase your products, services, insights and tips. Be visually creative and have fun!
With Instagram, this is where you can seriously have fun with words. Go Hashtag crazy! 11 or more per post! Studies have shown that interactions are highest on Instagram with more than 11 hashtags.
Hashtagged words on Twitter often start to become popular, then become a trending topic. You’ll see Award Shows, TV shows or Sports Events with a hashtag at the bottom of the screen. Advertisers are broadcasting these hashtagged words to get them trending all over Social Media. Tweets with hashtags get 2-times the engagement on Twitter than tweets without. Also remember to use 1-2 hashtags per tweet – Keeping within the 140 character limits of Twitter. And another pointer, I know I suffer from “fat finger syndrome” – so be careful when typing out a hashtag. Hashtags with spaces won’t count or work properly.
One example of a GENIUS hashtag marketing campaign is none other than Starbucks. Think about it – ever go into Starbucks to order a coffee and they botched your name? Yup. All the time. (Never knew there was so many different ways to spell my name.) But what’s the idea behind the misspelling? Starbucks has admitted that with Baristas spelling names wrong on customer cups, it not only annoys or humors us, but we, as their consumers, have gone as far as sharing the pix of our butchered names all over Instagram giving them FREE advertising. Genius!
Another way to find top trending keywords for hashtags is to visit popular news sites such as Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Forbes or any other website related to your industry, to incorporate these words into your context.
There is a great trick on Facebook to find trending social media keywords and subjects. On the right side of your Facebook home, you’ll see a box that says “trending.” This is also a good place to research trending topics in different industries. This will help grab more attention. Make sure you pair your hashtags with some high quality, attention grabbing pictures. Instagram works great for visual branding. Make it appealing! It will create interest, circulation and get more likes and shares. Also be sure to pair your hashtags with your image or context subject.
For more information on social media keywords and hashtag strategies contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (203) 429-9671.
Salty Red Dog Marketing, LLC is a marketing agency in Darien, CT & NYC. We service businesses with marketing strategies, social media and consultations.