What was once thought of as only a number symbol, the pound sign has since evolved into what we know today as the ever-popular “hashtag.”
Facebook, Google +, Instagram, Twitter, Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s “Hashtag Skit”, these are just a few examples that show just how powerful hashtags are in this day and age.
Though one might think that a hashtag is nothing more than an option young adults use on their overly-filtered Instagram picture or in sassy Tweets to their friends (ex: #sorrynotsorry), hashtags can actually be powerful tools that companies can and should use to spur on engagement with consumers.
Though hashtags can be a helpful tool, there are instances on social media when people and businesses alike overuse and misuse them and essentially defeat the purpose of this social tool.
Here is a quick list of tips to keep in mind the next time you update a status or tweet for your company:
Hashtags for everyone- Contrary to popular belief, hashtags aren’t solely meant for Twitter. In fact, hashtags can and should be used on all social platforms. By using the same hashtag on all social mediums, you are creating an opportunity to broaden your reach while continuing the conversation across all platforms. For example, if a person predominately uses Facebook and doesn’t have a Twitter account, they will still have the opportunity to engage with your brand and join in the conversation.
Don’t go overboard- #Dont #Hashtag #Everything… Sometimes with hashtags, less is more. What this means is that adding hashtags to every word in a sentence doesn’t add more value; in fact, it does the exact opposite and makes your message feel too forced and market-y. So, in short, don’t have more hashtags than words.
Pay attention- Check your social media feeds to see what’s trending. But, before you choose that hashtag, make sure you know exactly what it means so that it’s not offensive or controversial in any way. The last thing you want to do is attract negative attention from your audience. Also, just because a topic is trending, doesn’t mean that you have to use that hashtag. For instance, if #BrittneySpears is trending, it wouldn’t really make sense for a civil engineering firm to use that hashtag in their social media posts. As a rule of thumb, if you have to think twice about using a hashtag, odds are you don’t want to be part of that conversation.
Spell check- Inaccurate hashtags could result in missed opportunities. Always be sure to double and triple check your hashtags to make sure that they are spelled correctly. If a tag is spelled incorrectly, people won’t be able to find your message and in turn will not be able to join the conversation.
Be Original- Tailor your hashtags to people who will be interested in what you are posting. The more specific and original you can get with a tag, the better your chances of reaching the audience you want to target. For instance, if your business doesn’t have its own hashtag already, look for one or two hashtags out there that make sense with your business and brand. Do your best to be specific and original without overdoing it. Remember, as we previously mentioned, less is more in the world of hashtags.
Hashtags can be beneficial to businesses because they allow a company to engage their audience and potentially expand their reach if used correctly. Furthermore, this social tool gives businesses the opportunity to broaden their horizons and their social scope. So, the next time that you want to post to social media, take note of our tips to point you in the right direction!