Hashtagging, which is the act of using hashtags in social media posts, isn’t exactly a new concept. It’s something that most social media users are doing. But it is new enough in that there are still many businesses and entities that remain ignorant about its benefits.
Hashtags are important and it’s a wise idea to get acquainted with them as part of your digital marketing/social media marketing strategy. The hashtag has a much bigger role to play than you think. They help generate interest on social media around your content and most platforms allow users to leverage this tool. The most popular platforms in this regard happen to be Twitter and Instagram.
Using a hashtag next to a post helps the platform categorize your content, which means users can find your content with greater ease if they know what hashtags to use. For instance, if you’re a diecast model collector who has an Instagram page dedicated to posting images of your models, you can gain more followers by simply using hashtags such as #diecastmodels or #diecastcars.
The moment you do that, Instagram makes your content identifiable. So, if any searches for “#diecastmodels,” they get closer to finding your page and following it.
Hashtags make life much easier for the average user. They find what they’re looking for and are also able to become members of communities that share the same interests.
Businesses, on the other hand, gain the benefit of getting noticed. It allows them to establish their voice and position as a thought leader. So, knowing how to use hashtags can go a long way in marketing your brand and products/services.
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There is no debate that hashtags are highly effective. It has been observed that they can boost your brand’s social media presence significantly and make your content more visible. In fact, hashtags help you reach out to more than just your followers. As discussed earlier, they help you tap into unknown audiences that might have an interest in what you offer.
Hashtags also help brands join in the conversation about the latest trends. For instance, we’ve seen so many brands in the recent past leverage the “#metoo” hashtag to take part in the conversation about women’s rights and safety. By doing so, many of these brands established themselves as entities that care about their customers and stand in solidarity with women. Needless to say, these practices have a very positive on a brand’s image and perception amongst people.
To cut a long story short, hashtags, essentially, help brands expand their reach among prospective audiences and create a larger customer base.
Now, using hashtags ultimately boils down to the kind of platform you’re using. Hashtags are most effective on Twitter and Instagram.
On Twitter, hashtags can have a significant impact on follower count, especially with general or non-specific hashtags. A general hashtag is one that can be used for a wide range of posts and themes. For instance, you can use ‘#creative” for any post or topic that has creativity associated with it. For instance, a post about the launch of your new app can carry the “#creative” hashtag since it is relevant.
But the main purpose of hashtags on Twitter is to get people to join in on or follow conversations about a certain trending topic. So, using specific hashtags can actually get in the way of that. In other words, you cannot engage in evangelization on Twitter. It can actually damage your reputation. In fact, it can make it harder for audiences to find you unless they’re using that same specific hashtag.
Similarly, using too many hashtags is also an issue. It can create the perception that you are a desperate brand looking for attention. In turn, this can end up diluting the message that you’re trying to communicate.
Now, let’s take a look at hashtag use on Instagram.
The purpose of using hashtags in Instagram is the same – you want to reach out to as many people as possible. However, things get a little more specific here. You’re looking to become part of a community, which means you need to use industry-specific hashtags. This is similar to the “diecast models” example we spoke of earlier. By using such a hashtag, you can connect with members of the diecast community and find people interested in purchasing your diecast models.
You also get to connect with influencers from the diecast community, which can have a major impact on your brand, provided you know how to nurture such relationships.
So, take the time to study the kind of hashtags that people are using on Instagram, especially within the arena you’re operating in. Using general hashtags on Instagram may not take you very far because you’re going to get lost in the crowd. For instance, using “toys” or “models” can place you under those very categories and those categories are extremely broad. Toys can include, pretty much, everything from action figures to soft toys.
As for Facebook and LinkedIn, hashtags are of minimal use. For starters, LinkedIn doesn’t even support hashtags. So, it’s a fruitless endeavor at the end of the day. On Facebook, hashtags do offer some purpose.
We know, for instance, hashtagged posts on Facebook do perform better than regular posts. But the benefits are not substantial. In fact, studies have shown that hashtags on Facebook posts tend to any audiences and followers. This is because Facebook is purely for building personal relationships and connections. In other words, Facebook is better for customer support services.
Also, Facebook users do not search using hashtags, which is another key reason why they don’t have an impact.
Hashtags aren’t something you can ignore anymore. They’re a highly effective marketing tool, provided you know how to use them. They help you take your message further with the utmost ease.