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How to use hashtags

When used correctly, hashtags are a great way for businesses to increase customer engagement and make their social media posts more visible.

A hashtag is a keyword phrase that has no spaces with the # sign at the start of the phrase e.g. #sydneycafe. They can be placed anywhere in a business’s social media post; at the beginning, end or anywhere in between.

Hashtags are the most popular way to categorise content on social media. They make content discoverable and help users find relevant content posted by others. Hashtags also allow businesses to connect and engage with other social media users based on a common theme or interest.

Knowing how to use hashtags properly is key to a successful social media strategy. Here are a few best practices to help businesses achieve that success:

Do:

  • Be specific when using hashtags

The more specific a hashtag, the more targeted an audience will be; and the more targeted your audience is, the more likely it is you’ll achieve a better level of engagement from users.

  • Cater your hashtags to the social network you’re using

Even though hashtags serve the same purpose on all social networks, the way they are used varies across the platforms. For example, hashtags used for a Facebook photo usually focus on the description of the picture, whereas hashtags on Twitter tend to concentrate on a topic of conversation.

Businesses should conduct proper research on the proper way to use hashtags for particular networks before using them. It is also a good idea to spend time discovering popular and relevant hashtags on a specific subject for each network.

Don’t

  • Don’t use hashtags that are too long

Businesses should always try and keep their hashtags short and sweet. Even though “#CoffeeLoversInSydney” may target a very specific section of your business’s audience, no one will re-use that hashtag because it is too long. Hashtags are designed to make conversations and topics easier to find, so make sure you don’t overcomplicate things.

  • Don’t have more hashtags than words

While you may gain followers from stuffing your post full of hashtags, they’re usually the wrong kind of followers (spammers or people who want to be followed back). Having too many hashtags in a post can dilute your message, and come off as desperate to users. Focus on being specific, only using 2-3 hashtags per post.


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