5 Things You Need to Know About Hashtags
5 Things You Need to Know About Hashtags is your quick reference for using hashtags to promote your brand, connect with your community, and reach new customers.
Hashtags can be described as the following things:
- Funny, especially when stated out loud (e.g. "hashtag adulting right now!")
- Useful when it comes to best social media practices for businesses (which is what we'll talk about today)
- And, honestly, pretty confusing: what is a "hashtag", do people even notice them, and how does my business benefit from them?
What's a Hashtag?
The Oxford American Dictionary defines a "hashtag" as "a hash or pound sign (#) used to identify a particular keyword or phrase in a posting." By simply typing the "#" sign and adding text directly after, you basically tag your social media post and it's then discoverable by anyone looking at the same hashtag (assuming your social media profile is public).
Why Are Hashtags Crucial for Business?
Using hashtags can be fun - and funny - but as a business owner, hashtags are crucial for establishing and growing your brand.
When adding hashtags to your Instagram captions, we're allowing our brands to achieve the following:
- Categorization on social media
- Discoverability for communities, locations, niches, and customers
- Connections with all of the above (i.e. communities, regions, target market, customers)
5 Things You Need to Know About Hashtags
Moving beyond just typing out hashtags, what are some important things you need to know? Let's start with the following five:
- Be specific: while it may seem that #food and #exercise are "good" hashtags to use, you're hardly guaranteed a chance of making new connections. For example, if I were to share an Instagram photo that showed a beautiful plate of roasted root vegetables, I could be specific and hashtag things like #roastedvegetables or #vegetarianrecipes. Those hashtags have about 29K posts and 97K posts, respectively. #Food has 200 MILLION, and unless I had an extravagant amount of followers, chances are my post will not get seen by the masses. The goal for your hashtags is to reach people, and as a small business owner, you're more likely to reach people within hashtags that have fewer tags.
- Be relevant: choose keywords that your customers would actually look up. Including hashtags that are too long or unrelated to your content may not resonate with your audience. Remember, the goal is to reach people in your niche and community!
- #Dont #do #this #in #your #caption: when writing your main caption on Instagram - the one that is directly beneath your photo - please (PLEASE!) don't hashtag every or most of the words. It's unnecessary and can visually get in the way of your message. Consider putting only one or two of the most important hashtags in your caption (things you really want your readers to see or focus on) and save the rest for a comment below the caption.
- Create a hashtag that is unique to your brand: I love using this as a way to gather user-generated content, as well as connecting with your "tribe". You could decide to incorporate your business name into the hashtag (e.g. #jessicanorbyllc) or get a little more creative (e.g. the company Perfect Bar uses the hashtag #itsjustperfect).
- Save different lists of hashtags in your Notes app: rather than typing in 30 hashtags every time you publish a post, save some time and create different sections of hashtags based on the type of post. A "lifestyle" type post will have one set of relevant hashtags, while social media tips for customers will have another.
How Many More Times Can We Say "Hashtags"?
If you're a small business owner, using social media to promote your brand, hashtags are crucial for putting yourself on the "map". Hashtags helps us categorize our published content. They allow us to be discoverable by current and ideal customers, and connect us with our local community.
By practicing tactics such as being specific and relevant, putting hashtags in the comments, creating unique hashtags for your brand, and saving lists of hashtags in a separate note, you can stay on top of the marketing for your business.