Its simple, right? You just stick a # in front of a word, job done. But what’s the point of the #?
The # is there for you to link your post, in whatever medium that might be, to a word that may connect you with others who might be interested in the same topic. It can help your post reach a myriad of different audiences. The hashtag became popular with Twitter, but you can use it on just about any social media platform. It means that anyone looking for a particular topic can search using the hashtag and find other sites and content of interest. Very useful if you are wanting to get a message out or share information with the masses. According to some sources you can get 45% more likes and 67% more comments on your content by using the right hashtag strategy.
I use a very small number of hashtags on my posts about bellringing, mainly because some social media platforms have a limit on the number of characters you can use, but mainly because I’m rubbish at thinking on synonyms, you know, those other words that are related to the one you’re using. For example, I use #bellringing a lot when I post about any bellringing activity, or sharing information. For some reason it took me ages to connect #bells, #bellringers, #ringing, #campanology. Search these hashtags and it opens up another world of bell related sites, some not so relevant to the type of bellringing I do, but means the posts has the potential to reach a whole new audience.
Up until recently, I’ve never really used a hashtag as a search function to find other like minded topics, but as I’ve got more into using social media, I’m finding out all sorts of useful tips. There’s a whole business made out of teaching people how to hashtag properly. I took the plunge a while back and purchased an e-book on how to make the most of hashtags, but only because it was going super cheap. And, I have to say, I’ve learned quite a bit from it.
The particular e-book I purchased was more specifically focussed on Instagram, the least of the main social media platforms that I’m familiar with but the ideas can be used across the other platforms too. I look after 3 different Instagram accounts, including my personal one. I had them open as I was going through the e-book and putting the suggestions into play immediately as I was reading through it.
I edited the profiles for each account to make them more appealing and relevant so that it instantly gives a viewer the information they need about the account. I looked at the hashtags that were suitable for the size of each account based on the number of followers each account already had. Using hashtags relating to topics where there are too many followers already means that our messages could get lost in amongst all the noise. I thought about the keywords that users might be searching for when they’re trying to find our information. I then used those words to search sites where the ideal audiences would also be looking at. I followed a number of those, then looked at the kind of hashtags they were using and jotted down any that I thought might be useful.
Then its about the engagement. Once you’ve found the top accounts in your topic of interest, by liking and commenting on their accounts regularly, this will help your visability too, amongst their followers.
I’ve made a list of all the hashtags that I think would be useful for each of the accounts I look after and now that I’m starting to use them, I’ll be able to look at the analytics to see how they are helping reach wider engagement.
I shall become a master of hashtaggery!