The topic of hashtags seems to generate several questions. Among them include:
- “Do hashtags work?”
- “What is the most effective strategy for utilizing them?”
- “Should they be used on every single social media platform?”
Ultimately, the answer to those questions is up to your brand. Consider the different types of hashtags:
Content hashtags – Industry-specific hashtags that relate to products and services. These can be extremely valuable in reaching your intended audience. For example, #robotics, #FlowControl or #CommercialRefrigeration.
Branded hashtags – Hashtags relating to your brand which emphasize specific topics for your audience. For example, a hashtag with the name of your brand in each post. However, branded hashtags are most effective when a company has an established following, but they are good for campaigns and events.
Trending hashtags – We all love a good, trending hashtag; they’re possibly seen by millions of people and are most likely trending because of viral fame. If the opportunity presents itself, act quickly and join the conversation. However, don’t try too hard to fit in.
Now, on what platforms should you utilize each of these hashtags?
In 2004’s motion picture “Mean Girls,” Gretchen Wieners says, “That’s so fetch” and Regina George responds, “Stop trying to make fetch happen!” This is how most Facebook users feel about marketers trying to make hashtags happen on the platform. Facebook provides inconsistent guidance related to hashtags; thus, its users have never fully embraced them. When using hashtags on Facebook, limit them to the bottom of the post — if they truly provide value.
LinkedIn originally outlawed hashtags on their platform but then reversed course in 2016. Has it been working? The answer is yes, and it’s an effective way to reach audiences beyond your direct connections. Let’s say you’re posting something related to sustainability. It’s a popular topic being discussed and searched for online. People want to learn more about it. By incorporating the hashtag “sustainability” into your post, you can not only increase engagement but also build credibility for your brand.
Hashtags are most commonly used on Twitter and Instagram. But although they can be a fantastic tool to increase engagement and build brand awareness, proceed with caution. Limit hashtags to three to five per post (although there are specific strategies to use on platforms like Instagram) to avoid losing credibility. It’s even better if you can incorporate hashtag-relevant keywords within your social media copy.
Pro Tip: Engage with people and companies who are using the same hashtags as your brand. This can get your brand noticed by industry influencers. You can also use them as an opportunity to answer questions or position your brand as a thought leader. Who knows? You may find some content ideas, too.