Hashtags. What are they? How do you use them? And more importantly, how do businesses use them effectively?

As a reputation management company, social media is part of our day to day. We get to witness some really powerful campaigns online; see British Heart Foundation’s effective #RestartAHeart. On the other hand, we see hashtags being used incorrectly, which in turn can be damaging to a brand.

What are hashtags?
“A word or phrase preceded by a hash mark (#), used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it” – dictionary.com.

In a nutshell, a hashtag on a public social media account immediately makes the post searchable by others on the platform. By clicking on said hashtag, users are taken to a page that aggregates all of the posts with the same hashtagged keyword.

Three tips to becoming a hashtag pro.
According to Marketing Week, 2.8 billion people were using social media by the end of 2016, up 21% from 2015. So it looks like it isn’t going anywhere. And seeing as hashtags have been integrated into most of the popular social media platforms, stay up to speed with our top tips.

1) #Do #not #spam #with #hashtags.
If you use too many you’re at risk of losing a post’s authenticity and instead looking like a content-pushing robot! In fact, tweets that use more than two hashtags have a 17% drop in engagement.

2) Make it relevant.
Only use hashtags if they’re applicable to the topic of your post. Otherwise, like the above, you end up looking like a robot as well as portraying an amateur social presence.

3) Join the conversation.
Hashtags are great for giving your content more searchability. For example, by including ‘#Influence’ and ‘#PRPros’ in our tweet about the Chartered Institute of Public Relation’s (CIPR) magazine, several like-minded PR users interacted with us.

If you would like social media management support, get in touch with us!