“Hashtag” …”#” …”tagging”…”trending”…these are terms bandied about in marketing and on social media regularly! I have found many people don’t understand what hashtagging is, how to use it and why it can be so effective. Correctly applied, hashtagging is a powerful tool to increase engagement with your followers and expand your audience!

Adding a hashtag to your social media post makes your post easier to find. A hashtag is designed to highlight the essence of your post and allow a post to trend. When lots of people include the same hashtag in their posts we say the hashtag is trending.

For example, #TimesUp is the chosen hashtag for the women’s rights movement sweeping the globe. By including #TimesUp in your post, you will join that conversation and appear in the #TimesUp stream. If this topic interests you, you can search Instagram or Twitter for #TimesUp and all the posts which include the hashtag will appear. Similarly, as a business, you can join a conversation by including a hashtag in your post.

When choosing a hashtag we recommend you consider two questions:

  1. Am I joining a conversation? Your target audience is participating in several different conversations on social media. If you include the right hashtag in your post you can join these conversations and people other than your followers can find your post and this allows for greater reach and engagement. For example, if a wedding brand searches industry leading hashtags, such as #weddingplanning, and includes them in their post, they will join in a global discussion with engaged couples. Working your hashtags (a word or phrase) into your wording will make them appear more natural and likely to make more sense to the reader. 
  2. Am I creating a conversation? If you have a topic you would like to associate with your brand, create a simple, short and memorable hashtag to include in your post. For example, at Purple Mookiting we focus on creating remarkable brands so one hashtag we use is #Remarkable. It’s not unique to us but we are comfortable with the posts which include it, even if they aren’t ours. If you choose a unique phrase it will take longer to build the conversation. You will have to request your followers to use the hashtag but it can be really effective. One campaign that has done this successfully is #TimesUp.

The website https://top-hashtags.com is a great resource to see which hashtags are trending. But before you use any hashtag, be sure to look it up! Read through the posts and decide if you are comfortable with the association. You can do this in the search facility of each social media platform.

How many tags are too many? More than 7! You are looking to highlight the focal point of your post, not every aspect that could be related to it.

This is Part Three of 4 ways to engage with your followers. Read part one here and part two here. Next week, in part four, we will look at video!