Hashtags, we have all seen them, they look awkward in text, and some people use them like Frank’s Red Hot (they put that ___ on everything)! There is no doubt about it, hashtags have become a part of the social media landscape and aren’t going anywhere. But why? Are they really that important to a social strategy?
In short YES! Whether it is helping you find your audience, creating an easy path for your message to be heard, or assisting in generating buzz around your product or service, hashtags should play a pivotal role in your social media strategy.
The question that you should be asking is are all hashtags created equally? To which the answer would be a resounding NO.
If you have spent any time on social media, you know run into a post filled to the brim with hashtags. Some might make sense, some don’t, and some are just flat-out overlooked. This is the danger of using hashtags with reckless abandon. Deploying hashtags with restraint will help you far more than dropping them six ways to Sunday. Here are five things to keep in mind when using hashtags.
Just because a hashtag makes sense to you, doesn’t mean that it has a following that will help you increase your audience. Let’s say you are in the childcare industry and your primary prospect is are the parents of young children.
You might think that #parents will give you the most bang for your buck. When in fact #parenting has a much bigger following across most social media channels. Taking the time to research and learn which hashtags your audience is actively following can be the difference in success or failure.
Once you pinpoint the hashtags that mean the most to your audience, use them with Bobby Fischer-like precision. Hashtags are a great way to draw the reader’s eyes to a specific field of text that you deem important.
This strategy can be used in the first line of text or in the middle of the post. Our eyes naturally gravitate toward things that look out of place. This is why you will see many posts with a handful of carefully placed hashtags, opposed to a flurry at the bottom of the text.
Going back to Frank’s Red Hot, a dash or two will go a long way. This is especially true if you are pushing your audience to follow a hashtag that you have created. The worst thing than you can do is bury it in with several others that cause the reader to gloss over the entire section of text.
If you are going to add hashtags to the bottom of your post, make sure to lead with the one that you feel is most important. Most readers will only look at the first hashtag, so it is valuable real estate.
If you weren’t already aware, social media changes at a lightning-fast pace, and hashtags are no different. While some are constantly followed, the overwhelming majority are in and out of favor like a 00s MTV reality show.
Taking the time to regularly evaluate which hashtags are working and which are not is incredibly important. Tracking is difficult but can be made easier by showing restraint on using too many hashtags in your text. Take an A/B testing approach that you would see in traditional marketing, before dropping 20 hashtags in every post you make.
It should go without saying, but even in hashtags, spelling matters. Yes, you might be cramming two or three words together to make up a clever hashtag, but there is a difference between #clever and #cleaver.
Always double-check that the text is spelled correctly. For a simplified approach, save your hashtags on a document or spreadsheet. This can help you track how many people are following them and you can simply copy and paste them into your social posts.
As with most things in life, taking a simplified approach is often the path of least resistance. While it can be hard to resist the urge of using every hashtag under the sun, having a controlled hand will pay off in the long run. If you are struggling with hashtags or any other social media writing, connect with the Hire-a-Writer team. We will be happy to help guide you through the social media landscape.
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