Normally I’m not a big fan of similes, but this one has stuck with me since I first heard it: Hashtags are like tequila shots. One or two and you’re doing pretty well. Three’s alright, but probably more than you should have since you’re out of college now. Four or more – it’s all downhill from there.
While using an appropriate number of hashtags in your social content is important, there are also other things to think about before you go throwing them in wherever. It’s important to make sure the hashtag makes sense with the platform and audience before you put it in your content. After all, not all hashtags are created equal. Check out these five tips for the best ways to leverage hashtags across social media for each of your brand’s social channels.
Tip #1: Teach Your Audiences How to Use Your Brand’s Hashtags
Don’t expect your audiences to know what you want from them on your brand’s social channels without showing them first. Use hashtags related to your brand, and use them consistently in your content. Once you show your audiences the sentiment behind the hashtag, they can start emulating your posts and sharing their own images and ideas that are appropriate for the hashtag. Remember, audiences vary from social channel to social channel, so take note of which hashtags appeal most to which audiences.
Starbucks used #strawsome all summer, posting images like the one above to various social channels. The company’s audiences began using the hashtag when posting photos of their Starbucks summer drinks with straws.
Tip #2: Take Advantage of Real-Time Content
There’s more to real-time content than Oreo’s tweet during the 2013 Super Bowl. Check out the trending topics/tags of each social channel daily to immediately join in on some of the most popular conversations of the day.
When Dodge posted the tweet above, #5WordsIHateToHear was trending on Twitter. Because of the active audience surrounding the hashtag, the tweet received higher engagement than an average tweet posted by Dodge.
Tip #3: Think Twice About Your Facebook Hashtags
Hashtags have been much slower to take off on Facebook than on other social channels. The best way to leverage Facebook hashtags right now is to keep them relevant and applicable to your audience. Overly specific or irrelevant hashtags tend to slip through the cracks and could potentially hurt your post’s reach.
#TGIF is a continually used hashtag on Facebook that McDonald’s was able to make relevant and accessible to its fans.
Tip #4: Use Hashtags to Help Define Your Brand Voice
The hashtag you pick says a lot about you. Hashtags provide community managers with an opportunity to further develop the voice of their brands in a few characters.
Sharpie used three hashtags on its International Talk Like a Pirate Day post on Instagram. The #saywhat? and #thecapnslappy hashtags added humor and lightheartedness to Sharpie’s brand voice.
Tip #5: Avoid Banned Hashtags
You’re probably aware that Instagram blocks certain hashtags from being searched to help monitor content (most of them are expletives or vulgarities). But did you know Instagram also blocks overly popular hashtags that don’t really have anything to do with your photo?
When you go to post something for your brand avoid using hashtags like #photography, #instagram and #iphone, these are too generic and just take up space. Posting those won’t get you anywhere. Check out this blog post if you’re looking for ways to leverage popular hashtags on Instagram.
What brands do you think are doing particularly well with its use of hashtags? Let us know in the comment section below!