As simple as using a hashtag in a social media post may be, there are a few guidelines that will help you get the most out of them.
Here’s a list of some of the things we think should and shouldn’t be done in the minefields of hashtagging.
- Hashtags relevant to the platform you’re using –
Essentially, they all do the same thing, but the different social media platforms have varying techniques to using them. For example, on Instagram a hashtag is more focused on the description of the content, whereas on the other hand Twitter is more focused on a topic of conversation. Take time to research what the most relevant hashtags are for the subject you’re posting.
- Be specific –
The more specific you are with your hashtags, the more targeted your audience will be. Example, if I’m posting a photo of my dog, a pug, on Instagram and I use #dogs – my post is across a very broad range of dog owners; however, if I used #puglife – that applies to a very niche market of pug owners. Likewise, with becoming a new parent, if I use #parent – that applies to parents of all aged children, but I’ll be using #newdad – which immediately puts me in the category of being a guy with a newborn.
- Give your hashtags a purpose –
There have been many campaigns over the years utilising hashtags, some have been amazing, some have been horrendous, but here’s one I thought was incredible.
#LikeAGirl took the original, negative meaning i.e “you throw like a girl” and turned it into something of strength. Let me draw a picture for you - a video of a young girl doing an amazing backflip on a BMX, accompanied by the hashtag “LikeAGirl”, meaning she did something awesome - just like all girls can do awesome things. As you can imagine, this hashtag went viral in no time, and deservedly so.
- Don’t get too clever with your hashtags –
Hashtags were always meant to short and simple, so if you try and get too creative with them, the chances are you’ll just end up confusing your audience. Not only that, but the chances of them typing out your absurdly long hashtag for their own post is not very likely. Let me give you an example - if I’m promoting a ‘bring your pet to work day’, I’m not going to use #bringyourpetttoworkday because it’s just nonsensical. However, if I used #petsatwork, then people would be more likely to use that hashtag to accompany the picture of their fur baby at work.
- There’s no title for this one, it’s as simple as what it is. Don’t have more hashtags than what you have words in your post. #donthashtagtoomuch #toomanyhashtags #somanyhashtags #thisisruiningthispost #ruined #badpost #notideal #mademypoint
- Not everything needs to be hashtagged –
If your post doesn’t need a hashtag, then don’t use one. If you are simply sharing or re-tweeting, you really don’t need to add a hashtag as the post will already have them. If you are adding your own thoughts to a shared story, then sure, but stick to the above rules when doing so.
We are fortunate here at Traff1k that we have a dedicated Social Media team who know what they’re doing with all of this, but for many it is a big scary world of #hashtags.