What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the hashtag sign (#) to identify a particular topic on social media. They are hyperlinked making it easy for users to explore a them.
Businesses and brands use hashtags for various reasons:
- For a recent promotion, perhaps of a new product or service
- For events, to keep all posts from the same event linked
- Career opportunities, to allow people to find jobs
- Discussions, to allow posts on the topic to be found
- Competitions, for entries etc.
There are various benefits to using and creating hashtags for your business for example:
- You can optimize your discovery by using already existing hashtags
- You can increase traffic to you social media accounts using existing hashtags that people look at frequently
- You can measure your efforts by seeing how many times your unique hashtag has been used
- You can optimize traffic to your accounts by encouraging users to use your hashtag in their posts
Obviously, you can jump on the back of a trending hashtag. This is particularly useful for optimizing your discovery. Hashtags are often time sensitive and will trend because of a particular day or event. For example, every year on International Women’s Day there is a trending hashtag. If your business posts anything related to this day on their feed, be sure to include the trending hashtag to optimize your exposure.
Alternatively, hashtags such as #WednesdayWisdom and #FridayFeeling will trend regularly and are good to jump on the back of for your content.
How can you make a good hashtag?
Creating a new hashtag is no easy feat. Super brands like Coke will have a team of copywriters to come up with their new, exciting hashtags.
So here’s some tips for creating your own good hashtag that people will actually use so that you can reap all of its benefits.
Be unique and creative
Sure, you can use somebody else’s hashtag, but if you’re going to create your own it must be unique! If you create anything too similar to somebody else’s it will get confused. Think about the way that people use hashtags (to summarize of a topic, join a discussion etc.) they will always need to recognize it. If it isn’t unique then this will be a problem and there will be confusion.
It goes almost without staying but it needs to be creative in order to be unique. Don’t go for the first thing that comes into your head but have a little brainstorm and think about it carefully before you execute it.
If you want to use a hashtag for an event, make sure to plan ahead and think of your hashtag before the event begins. You can then advertise the event using the hashtag and then use it throughout the day on your business’s accounts. Plus, you can then encourage other people on the day to use your hashtag through other marketing materials. Perhaps you can ask people to share their thoughts or photos of the events using the hashtag so that you can see the responses.
For similar reasons the hashtag should be clear. For example KFC’s hashtag #NationalFriedChickenDay is clear, usable, and creative. It gets people talking about their brand.
People won’t use a hashtag if it’s not easy to use. It needs to explain clearly what it is summarizing, and this is a great example.
Less is more
It also shouldn’t be too long. Your hashtag shouldn’t be anywhere near the length of a sentence, it should be a few words maximum. Especially for Twitter when you are only allowed 280 characters per tweet. Also, it is meant to summarize and categorize the post, not encompass the entire thing, so it is important to keep the hashtag short. Think of any acronyms you may be able to use and cut out any stop words.
Keep it consistent
A good hashtag will promote the topic you are wishing to promote but it will also promote your brand, so keep it consistent with your branding and marketing strategies. It needs to be unique, but unique to you. If you are using social media frequently (which you should be!) it might be something that you want to include in your digital marketing strategy. This is something we can help with.
Always check your hashtag
It might make sense to you but your hashtag may not make any sense to your audience, or worse, it may have a completely different meaning all together. Check out this list of hashtag fails.
So plan ahead, be creative, and always check your hashtag!