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What’s the point of #Hashtags?

Hashtags seem to have become ubiquitous over the past few years and are now an integral part of social media, with millions of them being used every day across platforms such as Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.

But what are they and what are they for?

Hashtags are keywords or phrases preceded by the hash, or what was more commonly known as the pound sign (#), which helps to categorise and organise social media content. They are an essential tool for social media users and businesses alike, as they help to increase engagement, visibility, and reach across different social media platforms.

They can bring numerous benefits to your business, particularly in terms of marketing and advertising, being used to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and drive website traffic. Read on as we explore the use of hashtags in social media and explain why your need to hone your hashtag skills.

Increase visibility and reach

Hashtags give you the potential to reach a wider audience – i.e., potential clients – beyond your audience of followers. When users search for specific hashtags, they are directed to a feed that includes all posts that have used those words. By using relevant and popular hashtags, you can reach users who are interested in your products or services.

For instance, a business selling eco-friendly products can use hashtags such as #sustainability, #greenliving, and #ecofriendly, to reach users who follow environmental issues. This increases visibility and reach, as they are able to target users who are more likely to engage with their content.

Improve engagement

Hashtags are an effective way to improve engagement on social media. They give you the chance to join conversations and engage with your audience, which can lead to increased brand loyalty and customer retention. It’s a great way to encourage users to participate in contests, polls, and other interactive campaigns.

For example, using hashtags to promote a social media contest encourages users to share content with a specific hashtag in order to enter the competition. This can lead to increased engagement and user-generated content, as users are more likely to participate when there is a chance to win a prize. It’s a useful technique to increase followers and get them motivated and starting conversations around your brand or product.

Create brand awareness

Speaking of which… Hashtags are a great tool for creating brand awareness. When you use branded hashtags, they create a unique identifier, which can be used across different social media platforms. This helps to build brand recognition and strengthens brand identity. #justdoit, anyone?

A business selling fitness gear, for example, can create their own branded hashtag such as #fitforlife, which can be used across different social media platforms, helping to create a consistent brand identity and increase brand awareness.

Drive website traffic

The ultimate goal is to direct users to your website, where they will learn more about your product or services or, the holy grail, buy whatever it is that you are selling. By including a call-to-action in your posts, users can be encouraged to visit your website and learn more about your products or services.

For example, a business selling organic food can use hashtags such as #organicfood, #healthyeating, and #cleaneating, to direct users to their website. By including a call-to-action such as “Learn more about our organic products on our website,” users can be nudged to visit their website and potentially make a purchase.

7 tips for using hashtags in social media

Some tips to bear in mind when using hashtags on your social media channels:

  1. Be relevant
    Only use hashtags that are relevant to your products or services. Using irrelevant hashtags can lead to decreased engagement and visibility.
  2. Research popular hashtags
    It’s worth taking the time to do some research about popular hashtags that are relevant to your products or services. This can increase the visibility and reach of your content.
  3. Use branded hashtags
    Create branded hashtags that can be used across different social media platforms. This helps to create a consistent brand identity and increased brand awareness.
  4. Use a mix of hashtags
    Use a mix of popular hashtags and niche hashtags. This helps to increase visibility and reach, while also targeting a more specific audience.
  5. Don’t overuse hashtags
    Avoid overusing hashtags in your posts. Using too many hashtags can make the post look spammy and decrease engagement.
  6. Keep hashtags concise
    Keep hashtags concise and easy to read. Avoid using long phrases or complicated hashtags that users may not understand. Be careful and get someone who doesn’t know what you are trying to say to sense-check it. There are several famous examples of ‘hashtags gone wrong’. We can think of one famous UK singer called Susan Boyle, who invited her followers to an Album Party that went disastrously wrong – for reasons of delicacy, we will leave readers to work out the hashtag by themselves… While going viral can sometimes boost engagement, you don’t want it to be for the wrong reasons!
  7. Monitor hashtag performance
    Make sure you monitor hashtag performance to see which ones are driving the most engagement and reach, otherwise there’s little point in making the effort. Monitoring responses help you to refine your social media strategy and optimise content for maximum impact.

Hashtags can be a useful tool for businesses looking to increase their visibility, engagement, and reach on social media. By using relevant and popular hashtags, you can target your audience more effectively, create and amplify brand awareness, and drive website traffic. Not sure where to start? Get in touch so we can help you create a social media strategy that will see your followers increase and your sales spike!