Why use them?

Hashtags. We’ve all heard of them, some of us use them but do you know what they are for?

Commonly used across the social media platforms, hashtags can be an effective way to be discovered by users searching for something you have in common with them and therefore can help in growing your reach, engagement and following.

What is an effective hashtag?

1. Keep them simple.
You want people to easily find them, and therefore you.
This isn’t the place to get clever or use slang – make sure your spelling is correct and the hashtag is easy to remember. And be mindful of your brand name or slogan – it may not translate easily to a hashtag.

2. They have to be relevant.
Forcing people to use or look for a hashtag that doesn’t resonate with them won’t work. Your followers want to know why they should be including it in their own messages.

3. Know what is out there.
You don’t want to use the perfect hashtag for your brand, only to find a different brand has already been running with it and has created a very different understanding for the same tag.

On the other hand, for more generic hashtags, know what is popular and relevant to your brand and what your followers are already using – help push them out further and get further traction.

4. Watch the number!
Hashtags should support your message, not be it. For Twitter, keep your character count in mind – two or three hastags should be sufficient.

For Facebook, make sure you use the platform’s strengths appropriately and support great copy with only a few hashtags.
For Instagram, you can go a bit harder. Copy should be tight and efficient and hashtags used as an effective discovery tool – up to 15 well-considered hashtags will get you additional reach.

5. Lastly – inspect your hashtag thoroughly!
Check if there are any other ways that it could be interpreted.
It can happen to the best (or biggest) of us. Ed Sheeran once tweeted to his 19 million plus followers the beauty #sheeranalbumparty, taking a family friendly celebration to a very non-PC place indeed.