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How to Properly Use Hashtags on Social Media

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How to Use Hashtags the Right Way on Social Media

You see them everywhere — online, on television, even on restaurant menus and on printed posters in store windows. The hashtag.

The purpose of a hashtag is to group topics and conversations on social media, although they are often misused, overused and abused,. Twitter was the first adopter of hashtags, but the symbol is now used by Instagram, Flikr and Facebook as well.

At one time or another, you have probably been #annoyed by an #overuse of #hashtags in a #status update. They are notoriously used by individuals to create #obnoxioussometimessarcasticrunonsentences. So how do you avoid being #thatguy?

  1. Be Strategic; Don’t Hashtag Every Word.

    Choose the one word or phrase in your messaging that is most unique to your brand and most likely to be searched by followers and add a hashtag to that word. No need to hashtag every word. For example, the popular TV show Dancing With The Stars used hashtag #DWTS rather than #dancing or #stars to link conversations and engage fans.

  2. Use a Hashtag to Link Activity Across Multiple Social Channels.

    Because hashtags have become an almost universal symbol on social media, brands can use one hashtag to track engagement and conversations on multiple platforms, including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

  3. Use a Hashtag to Track Campaign Results.

    If you are running a special contest on social media or simply want to poll your followers, hashtags are the perfect way to track results. For example, prior to Super Bowl XLVIII, the NFL and Verizon launched a campaign to find out which team fans thought would win the big game. Using the hashtag #WhosGonnaWin and a dedicated websiteto track results in real time, the NFL and Verizon engaged fans in a real-time debate in the days leading up to the game.

  4. Be Conservative and Don’t Overuse Hashtags.

    You don’t want your brand’s messaging to come off as spam, so don’t overdo it. Sure, you have the ability to add a hashtag to every word, but by doing so, you’re more likely to turn your fans away than to engage them. Never use more than two hashtags in one post, and whenever possible, stick to just one.

  5. Use Hashtags to Increase Brand Visibility — Appropriately.

    When used tastefully, hashtags can increase brand visibility by connecting your brand’s message to a trending topic. But always think twice before you hit post.  For example, an insurance company using the hashtag #CAwildfire in a post about buying homeowner’s insurance would not be considered an appropriate use of the hashtag. It would, however, be appropriate for that same company to instead say “Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims of the #CAwildfire.”

Don’t shy away from hashtags. When used correctly, they are an essential piece of your social media marketing toolbox. Just remember: don’t overuse, misuse or abuse them.

Frozen Fire is a Dallas internet marketing and video production company that helps companies harness the most powerful aspect of modern marketing—the internet—to engage customers in memorable and meaningful ways. Ways that ignite sales and business growth. Contact us to learn how we can help your business.

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