By Aimee Wera
1. Thou Mustn’t Excessively Use Hashtags In Post Captions
Regardless of the type of content you’re posting, you should try to limit the number of hashtags you use. On Instagram and Twitter, try using a few key hashtags instead of a long list. While excessive hashtag use will allow for some increased exposure, it may cost you followers. The mere thought of seeing a lengthy list of hashtags at the end of a post is a buzzkill, no matter the quality of the content being posted. Using repetitive and lengthy hashtag lists will come across as spam to your followers, and will most likely encourage them to hit the “unfollow” button. Instead of using a long list of tags, try using 5-7 effective ones instead. This will allow you to still pop up in various social searches, but will not appear as spam to followers.
If you are just starting out your social page and need as much exposure as possible, try adding a comment onto your post with your list of hashtags, instead of listing them directly in your caption. This way, your post still comes up under the all of hashtags you used, but users will not see the list unless they click on the first comment. Hiding a long list of tags in a comment on your post is a great way to pull your content into many possible searches, while not coming across as spam to other users.
2. Thou Shall Pay Attention To Platforms
When deciding which hashtags will be most effective for your post, it’s important to know which hashtags are trending on different platforms. Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are the main drivers in social hashtag usage. It’s wise to do some research on the most popular hashtags, depending on the platform you’re using and the type of content you’re posting. By looking at the top performing or most searched hashtags on each individual platform, you can decide which tags will gain you the most visibility and engagement. Using popular hashtags that are dependent on the social platform and content type will allow your posts to be more accessible to your audience.
3. Thou Shall Be Aware of Trends What’s Trending
The popularity of different hashtags changes every single day, which means it’s essential to know what’s trending. Finding out which hashtags are popularly searched on a given day is as simple as clicking through the social platform and doing some research on the trending tags. Search and scroll through popular posts to see what tags people are using. The advantage of using trending hashtags is that you can increase engagement by being a part of the active social conversation. This increased engagement will allow you to connect with current and potential followers, which will generate more likes, comments, and impressions.
4. Thou Shall Celebrate Thy People
Using brand specific hashtags helps to promote your page’s identity. Often times, brands use hashtags to promote their products or services, or to showcase their latest campaign. Many brands miss the opportunity to showcase UGC, or user generated content. When users showcase products on social media, they are not only showing off the product, but also hoping to increase their own engagement as well. So, what better way to show appreciation to your customer than giving them a shout out on the brand’s social media page? This gives both the brand and the consumer an opportunity to connect with a new audience, increase their followers, and build rapport with new users. Celebrate the people who love your brand by sharing their photos on your social pages.
5. Thou Mustn’t Shy Away From Specific Hashtags
Popular hashtags can allow for more people to discover your content, but overusing popular tags can make your content easy to overlook. Popular tags can draw in thousands of posts, so yours can become one small fish in the large ocean of social posts. To prevent getting lost in this sea of hashtags, it’s important to use a mix of both popular and specific hashtags. This will allow you to reach a wider variety of people and increase your overall exposure.
6. Thou Shall Analyze Thy Hashtag Usage
Whether you post once per week or once a day, it’s critical to take a step back and measure the effectiveness of your chosen hashtags. When viewing post impressions, likes, and other measures of engagement, it is important to notice the reasons why certain posts are more successful than others. Think about the time you posted, the location tag you used, if any, and the other posts that come up by searching the hashtags you used in your post. Analyze the effectiveness of your posts and discover the tags that your audience uses. Researching how well your posts performed based on the tags you used will help you improve your overall engagement, and make you a better post crafter in the future.
7. Thou Mustn’t Be Naive When Using or Creating Hashtags
Too often, brands create hashtags without conducting thorough research first. One of the most notable viral hashtags that caused a PR nightmare was the pizza company, DiGiorno. They created a campaign in 2014 using the hashtag, #WhyIStayed. In the post, DiGiorno included a photo of a pizza with the caption, “#WhyIStayed – You had pizza.” The brand may have thought this was funny or clever, but the tag ended up offending many victims of domestic violence and partner abuse. Within hours, DiGiorno issued an apology about the hashtag. Always conduct research before deciding on a campaign hashtag, and be aware of the potential backlash that social media can ignite.
Thee Final Takeaways
While hashtag usage may seem intuitive, it resembles another language which is decipherable by conducting research, knowing your audience, and staying up to date with trends. Using these principles will not only optimize your hashtag usage, but also prevent you from potential negativity relating to your posts.