Using #hashtags, Are You Doing it Wrong?

How About Some Love?

If you’re active on any social media platform, odds are you’re familiar with #hashtags. They are used in advertising campaigns, on television and in discussions online. The thing is, because they’re so widely used online by so many different platforms, and for so many different reasons, some inbound marketers are implementing them without really understanding them.

A little history of the hashtag…

Hashtags are used on Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest and even Facebook.

The first time hashtags were used was on Twitter. A little internet search will tell you that hashtags were used to communicate within groups when Twitter initially launched, because replying to Tweets and direct messaging weren’t options at that time. The first documented time it was suggested that hashtags be used for groups was credited to Chris Messina in 2007, with this Tweet. Since then, Twitter has hyperlinked hashtags for easier search and grouping.

Does using hashtags have an effect on SEO?

Not really.  At least not for now:

So why are they important?

They are extremely powerful when you are working to grow your following on many different social media sites, predominantly Twitter and Instagram.

For example, when you post a great blog and want to Tweet it, make sure you use a well known and popular hashtag relevant to your subject. That ensures more of your target audience sees your post and more people will have the opportunity to interact with you.

Like this:

We made sure to use relevant tags so that the right audience would see our post, retweet, actually READ our blog content and possibly follow us online.  The tags are simple…they aren’t confusing or crazy long.  The tags provide insight into the linked content so they add value to the tweet.

Here are 4 ways hashtags are used poorly, and what to do instead

      1. Making Up Hashtags – There are reasons to make up your own hash but if have a small following odds are you should avoid this.  There are sites across the web that monitor hashtags for many social media platforms. With the right tool, such as tagdef.com, you can check up on trending hashtags, learn what certain hashtags mean and what social media site that they are used on. Making up a hashtag becomes totally irrelevant if you’re the only one that has ever used it, or will ever use it.
      2. Spam-Tagging – These users totally understand the value of, and how to use, a hashtag. Now they’re using them to spam with advertising or simply to get more views of their status or post. These users will find a trending tag, and post a tweet using that tag on something totally irrelevant. That’s spam. You should only use hashtags that are directly related to your post. The general consensus is 1-3 tags per tweet or post…more than that and its spammy…like having too many bumper stickers on your car:

        spammy bumper stickers

        Huh? What is going on here?

      3. Using hashes on every word – #kind #of #like #this #yolo. Yes, there are some people that post like that. Not only does it make your hashtags irrelevant, it makes the post or tweet incomprehensible to the average human. There are some people that state hashtags should only be used at the end of tweets or posts. I disagree, as long as you’re posting something relevant it’s fine to hashtag a word in the middle of a tweet – just try to keep it logical.  Those are a precious 140 characters after all.
      4. In conversation – Just stop it.  Seriously.

The bottom line, using hashtags correctly can ensure that your content is visible on social media platforms where there are literally millions of posts each day.  You work hard to develop good and valuable content – spend the time to properly tag your tweets, posts, pins and you as well as your social media following will reap the benefits.

 

Speak Your Mind