If you ever wrote anything that required you to input the British pounds sign recently, then I can only imagine the number of occasions you must have been frustrated by the shortcut “Shift+Key3” which ideally is the shortcut to the sterling sign “£” but in recent times has shifted to “#” (hashtag).
The use of hashtags began in mid-2007 on Twitter as a way of collating same ideas/conversations together. Fast forward today and they are literally used on almost all social media platforms as well as the web.
Where as we all use hashtags for brands and individual purposes, there a few basic principles to observe to effectively communicate on social media. They create relevance and make an idea, theme, content identifiable so below are some of the best practices to observe:
First and foremost you account must be public otherwise you hashtags wont be visible to people who don’t follow or subscribe to your account. The idea is to increase the possibility of everyone seeing your content.
The second one is a no brainer but I can bet you the number of people who forget. Make sure you use the hashtag(#) itself before coining your words. There should be no spacing,punctuations or signs after the sign for expample when putting “ThrowbackThusday” as hashtag, it should be #ThrowbackThursday and not # ThrowbackThursday.
Limit the number of words in your hashtag. Too long hashtags even though are stand outs and unique will rarely get people searching for them. The shorter the better as they are easy to remember.
Develop consistency on the hashtags you often use. Changing your hashtags or having too many just looks spammy and most people will not be in the mood to check out your content. More isnt always better.
Why Use #Hashtags?
Build a Brand - Creating a branded hashtag can be an effective way to promote your business and drive conversation.
Increase engagement - Including hashtags in your posts means taking part in a conversation happening on that social media platform. And most importantly, it makes your posts visible in that conversation. You will generate more engagement, boosting your brand’s social media engagement through likes, shares, comments, and new followers.
Show support for a social cause – Sometimes brands to show support for certain social issues. By using the particular hashtag created for the subject a brand will be part of the ongoing conversation eg when celebrating Women’s day or World Aids Day. Brands call also tackle a specific social issue and create a hashtag for it eg speaking up against Gender Based Violence, Child labor etc.
Add Context to the post – When celebrating occasions, milestones or achievements brands can coin a hashtag for the post. Safaricom when celebrating 20 years of service had #TwendeTukiuke as they had conquered many challenges in the period leading to the milestone.
Be easy to find – A hashtag will make it easier for your audience to find you. Let’s take our case Twiva, we make it easy for people to find us by consistently adding #Influencermarketing into our posts. It’s also a way to find more content when searching for more information around influencer marketing as we put out content on the subject frequently. Brands in the same industry like travel, fashion, communication, events have different hashtags that they utilize to easily locate them.