The first thing to know is this – hashtags can both help or hinder the performance of your post, it all depends on HOW and WHERE you use them!
Whilst the hashtag predates social media, it was Twitter who started using them as a way to dynamically link to further content of a similar topic. Despite Twitter not quite reaching the use-levels of sites like Facebook, this functionality was so popular that the biggest social channels added it to their sites too.
But, before you go hashtag-crazy on all of your content, remember they work differently on each channel. Sometimes, it’s better to not use them at all!
Tweets with hashtags perform two times better than those without. However, a common mistake is to overload a tweet with hashtags.
The optimum amount is 2-3 hashtags, any more and you can see up to a 17% drop in engagement – so make sure you use them wisely.
Instagram, however, is an opportunity to go hashtag-crazy! Posts with more than eleven hashtags get the most engagement, so you have an opportunity to go nuts! (Not too nuts, though – the limit is thirty…) Do some research on which hashtags are popular for your industry/service, then test and learn!
Don’t. Use. Hashtags. On. Facebook.
Yes, the functionality is there – but it’s not the platform to use them on. They have no impact on performance, in fact – posts WITHOUT hashtags have higher engagement overall.
Hashtags on Pinterest are still very new, so there aren’t huge quantities of performance data available, however, it has been recommended that you avoid using more than twenty. The hashtags you choose appear as clickable buttons below your pin, but above your caption.
Okay, so what if you want to create your own hashtags?
Here are four top tips to get you started:
- Keep your chosen hashtag short and sweet. Remember, you are limited on characters on Twitter so you don’t want to use them all on a hashtag that no one will remember.
- If you’re a big brand, consider the implications of including your brand name in the hashtag. Those who have issues with your products/services will find it very easy to ‘jack’ your hashtag and load it up with harmful content.
- Check if your chosen hashtag is in use already, and who is using it. You should avoid accidentally taking over a hashtag regularly used, for example, by a charity campaign or by those who have a very strong political stance that your brand does not align with.
- Test your hashtag all in lowercase. You have no guarantee that users will always capitalise – so you need to check your hashtag doesn’t accidentally spell something different in lowercase. (Remember the #susanalbumparty debacle? It was meant to be #SusanAlbumParty! Ops!)
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