As a social media marketing agency, Klout 9 frequently gets questions about social media trends and how to properly utilize them. The hashtag is one trend that is not new, but is definitely more in use than ever before. Today we will dive into what exactly hashtags are, how they work, the benefits, and best practices of using them.
What is a Hashtag?
A hashtag is a powerful social media marketing tool that emerged in August of 2007 on Twitter as a solution to mainstream content organization on the platform. The hashtag is simply a word or phrase preceded by the hash or pound sign (#). It is essentially a metadata tag that allows for the cross-referencing of content sharing or grouping. The hashtag rapidly took off in October of 2007 with the California Wildfires and has since spread to all other social media sharing platforms.
Why Use Hashtags?
There are thousands of images and posts uploaded to social media each minute! Without the use of hashtags, it is very easy for your content to get lost in the crowd. Think of hashtags as a way to connect social media content to a specific topic, event, theme or conversation. Hashtags are indexed by social media platforms and are even searchable on some allowing users to see only topics relevant to that tag. This gives you the opportunity to not only have your content seen by your followers, but it expands your reach and increases post engagement. In addition to expanding your reach and increasing engagement, some other hashtag benefits include:
- Increased brand recognition
- Growth in organic post traffic
- Increased post relevance (being shown to an audience actively seeking out content like yours).
- Increase momentum
- Ability to target a specific group of people
Hashtag Best Practices
As a social media marketing agency, it is our responsibility to stay on top of best practices. Below are some charts and information we have put together to assist you on your hashtag journey!
The largest piece of advice we can offer is to know your platform! While the principle of hashtags remains the same, their effectiveness is dependent on proper implementation. For example, while up to 30 hashtags may be appropriate on Instagram, we recommend only 1-3 on Facebook. Hashtag strategy on Facebook should focus on true relevance to each specific post. Because Instagram is an image based platform, using up as many of those 30 hashtags as you can is beneficial to maximizing reach and increasing engagement. On linkedIn, hashtags can help people to find your content better, especially content specific to your industry. The point is, knowing your platform is crucial to hashtag success.
Another best practice is to keep it fresh. Hashtags change often as new trending topics pop up so avoid the “set it and forget it” method. It is recommended that you do a hashtag refresh every few months to make sure you’re staying relevant and capitalizing on the right ones.
Lastly, consider your placement. This ties into knowing your platform of choice. For Facebook and Linkedin, best practices are to work the hashtags into your copy as naturally as possible. For Instagram, it’s routine to just drop your group of relevant hashtags at the end of your caption or into the first comment. Knowing which hashtags should be selected and where to place them matters.
If you need help working hashtags into your overall social media marketing strategy, or would prefer for a social media marketing agency to manage your accounts all the way around, Klout 9 is happy to help! Contact us for a free consultation today.