In the new digital age, it’s become difficult to use a social media platform and not see a “#” in the first 5 seconds of scrolling…
From Twitter to Instagram, the special character is hard to avoid, but what are they for, and why are they so important?
As the hashtag rose to fame on Twitter in 2007 after Chris Menissa tweeted the suggestion of it being used to categorise content, Twitter has become known as the ‘birthplace of the hashtag’.
Its ability to direct users to “trending” topics, or to connect individuals with mutual interests, is where the hashtag’s real power lies. In the world of business and social media, if you use hashtags correctly to reflect your brand’s image and products, you allow individuals with similar interests to find you and connect with you, enabling you to increase your influence and followers.
On Twitter the hashtag groups together individual tweets that talk about a common topic, allowing users to easily find topics of conversation that they are interested in.
Users can then join in with the discussion on a particular theme, sharing knowledge and opinions with one another, building up the hashtag’s popularity, which in turn makes your content more discoverable.
As a business, it’s important to get involved in conversations that relate to your specialties. By actively searching the hashtags that are used by your target audience, you can discover conversations to get involved in, share your offerings and gain popularity online.
On Twitter you’re limited to 280 characters, meaning it’s important to be concise and to the point in order to get your message across. I’m sure we can all name a time where we’ve written what we believe is a groundbreaking tweet only to receive the daunting (-8) notice… you’ve gone over the word count.
Therefore on Twitter, you need to be selective with your hashtags. They need to compliment your tweet but not take over – we recommend 1-3 hashtags to be used per tweet!
Instagram is all about images… and of course hashtags. You could take the best photograph in the world and put it on this platform, but if it’s lacking hashtags the likelihood is it won’t be discovered or given the praise that it deserves.
Hashtags are used on Instagram to create a visual thread and they maximise your contents reach on the platform. People not only search for hashtags on Instagram but they can also follow them, which means users can see your hashtagged post on their feed even if they don’t follow you – just yet…
Also with the popularity of ephemeral content on the rise, the ability to hashtag your Instagram stories is also a great benefit to businesses using the platform – making your time-limited content more discoverable too!
When hashtagging your Instagram posts bear in mind that you can use up to 30 hashtags – providing lots of opportunities to get noticed. Just remember to keep your hashtags relevant and current, combining popular trending hashtags with content-specific ones!
The importance of the hashtag is clear, it gives your content maximum visibility at no extra cost (Yipee!). However, you need to make sure you’re using them to their full advantage.
Be strategic with the hashtags you use, you want to make sure you target users with interests that relate to your business. Once you’ve mastered the balance between embedding topical hashtags and those that are specific to your brand, you’ll be feeling the online love in no time.