A hashtag is a type of label used in social media which makes it easy for users to find messages and images with specific themes and contexts. A hashtag’s main purpose is to organize and categorize posts. Hashtags are created with the pound sign in front of a word or un-spaced, un-punctuated phrase. They can be placed either in the main message or as a list at the end of the message. Searching for a specific hashtag will yield each post that has been tagged with it.
Hashtagging is most relevant to Instagram. Twitter, who began the hashtag revolution, is now moving away from that system in favor of new enhanced algorithms to search content. Facebook once tried to embrace the hashtag movement, however it was never fully realized with further development. While you can still technically use a hashtag on Facebook, research shows that posts with hashtags receive far less engagement – and nobody wants that!
Hashtags on Instagram increase discoverability, which leads to an increase in followers. By picking the right hashtags, you target your audience and attract the right demographics to your account and website. Furthermore, Instagram posts with hashtags receive about 13% more engagement than those without. To hashtag effectively, use at least one of each of the following types hashtags:
1. Branded Hashtags – Hashtags that are unique to your brand organize your posts. By picking unique hashtags for specific types of pictures, you have a classification system. Using a hashtag for all your posts, like #stratgrow, in addition to original branded hashtag for each campaign, like #marketingfailfriday, make it easier for potential clients and followers to see specific types of posts altogether.
2. Community Hashtags – This type of hashtag is necessary to reach your audience. If you are marketing to a demographic that loves the gym, try #gymlife, #fitfam and #fitmom. If you are a restaurant owner, try #tucsonfoodie or #plated. This is the perfect way for potential patrons to find you!
3. Popular Hashtags – Popular hashtags are hashtags that have at least 100,000 posts. They are great for attracting a large audience and gain brand recognition. An example is the famous #tbt (Throwback Thursdays), so each Thursday people post an old photo. Holidays are great too… does your business have a Mother’s Day special? Don’t forget #mothersday. Just remember that your photos should relate to the hashtag. If the Instagram doesn’t have anything to do with mothers, do not use #mothersday.
Hashtagging allows you to target your audience on Instagram, so don’t post without them! You may use up to thirty hashtags per a post – but you don’t always need to use that many… Just make sure you pick relevant hashtags and use a mix of branded, community, and popular. Happy hashtagging!
By Julia H. Levine