#HowToHashtag!… 5 Key Tips

Hashtags have become so popular that the term is now found in dictionaries and they are celebrated in the annual Shorty Awards for the best use of social media. Last year’s winner for ‘best use of a hashtag’ was the #EyeOnClimate campaign from the UN Foundation. Launched prior to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, it showcased images that provided “a powerful and personal, ‘lens’ to an issue perceived as distant and abstract.”

Hashtags are an integral part of any social media campaign. They help to categorise your content and to make that content discoverable to users. Knowing how to use them well is key to your success on social media, so here are five key tips:

#LessIsMore

We’ve all seen those posts crammed full with every hashtag under the sun, but an excessive amount of hastags dilutes your message and can be off-putting! Focus on being clear and specific and stick to two or three to make the right impact.

#StandOut

If you opt for generic hashtags such as #marketing, or #recycling your post may be lost amongst a host of other generic posts using the same hashtags. Try using hashtags that have a more fine-tuned focus and that are appropriate for your brand.

#BeOnTrend

 If you spot a trend that relates to your business, then engage with audiences by using the hashtag in your posts. Trending hashtags are continuously changing, so it’s important to keep an eye on what’s current and hot in the media and online. Niche-trending hashtags will enable you to connect and build relationships with your target market before the competition and position you as being at the forefront of new issues and trends.

#AvoidConfusion

It’s a good idea to capitalise the first letter of each word when using two or more terms. This will help create separation between words and make the text easier to read. For example, #WearItPink is easier to read than #Wearitpink. Capitalising also helps avoid misinterpretation or posts being open to innuendo. A case in point is when Susan Boyle’s event to launch her new album was launched with the unfortunate choice of hashtag #Susanalbumparty which was quickly changed to #SusanBoylesAlbumParty.

#ResearchIsVital

You want your social media post to stand out for the right reasons, so it’s important to do your research. Using a negative or controversial hashtag that might invite protest is not the best way to do it. Make sure that another brand isn’t using the hashtag specifically for their own promotion as well, as you don’t want to appear to be stepping on other brands toes or confusing your own audience.

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