Hashtag Hacks: Best Practices for Social Media

Hashtag

By Gabbie Diassi

If you’re like me, you probably use hashtags in your personal social media quite often, and I’m sure you know that using hashtags is a simple way to get your content seen by a larger audience.

What most people don’t realize is that using hashtags as part of your business strategy is actually an important way to ensure your brand stays relevant on social media.

Below are some best practices on hashtag use for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Consider them when posting on social media for your business!

Twitter

Twitter was the platform that created hashtags, and as such it's designed to let you find and search for hashtag content easily. A hashtag on Twitter leads to what is essentially a live feed for that topic. Here are the best ways to incorporate them in your businesses’ content:

1.    Have only one business account – Make your tweets easy to find.
2.    Join in the conversation – Use hashtags that are relevant in your industry to build awareness and credibility.
3.    Don’t overload – While in theory you can use as many hashtags as the 140-character limit allows, best practice is to use no more than two in a single tweet.
4.    Create your own hashtag – Create an evergreen hashtag that your customers and consumers can use when mentioning your products. This will allow you to easily track conversation around your business.

Facebook

Facebook creates a unique URL for hashtags. Similar to Twitter, the use of hashtags in posts allows you to track conversations around that topic.

Unlike Twitter, however, Facebook hashtags have no significant impact on reach. Due to Facebook’s algorithms and users’ custom preferences, Facebook generally won’t display your content to users unless specified. The following are ways to get the most out of hashtags on Facebook:

1.    Don’t overload – Like Twitter, limit hashtag use to one or two relevant tags per post.
2.    Curate – Hashtags on Facebook are useful mostly for curation and gathering data for your business’ marketing strategy.
3.    Connect – Respond to people who are using the same hashtags as your business (when appropriate). Think of this as online networking.

Instagram

While #Like4Like might not be the best hashtag for your business to use on Instagram, hashtags are still essential to building your customer base and increasing brand awareness and reach. Instagram hashtags are similar to those on Twitter, though a few logistical differences affect your posting strategy:

1.    Hashtag away – The highest engagement on Instagram content comes from posts with 11 or more hashtags.
2.    Comments not captions – Put your hashtags in a comment beneath your photo, not in the original caption. This still allows users to find your image via the hashtags, but there’s an added bonus: Every so often you can delete your hashtag comment, and then re-comment to put your image back on top of the search list.
3.    Create your own hashtag - Create an evergreen hashtag that your customers and consumers can use when mentioning your products. This allows you to easily track conversation around your business and opens the potential of acquiring UGC (user-generated content).

Pinterest

Hashtags on Pinterest are the red-headed step child… I’m just not sure how they came to be on this platform! On Pinterest, hashtags are only clickable in the description of the Pin. If you're hoping to increase reach by putting them in your board names or About Me section, don't bother. It’s a waste of time. 

The search feature on Pinterest doesn’t support searching hashtags either. E.g., if a customer is trying to search #houndstoothskirt, Pins with the words houndstooth and skirt in the description will come up, but so will Pins that have one of those words in the URL or product link tied to the page. It makes for a very broad and unspecific search.

This, however, could be something you consider when naming products on your website if you hope to use Pinterest as a large part of your marketing strategy.

 

What hashtags will you be using in #2016? Share this post to join the conversation!