Hashtags are cross-platform signatures of people, movements, trains of thought and ideas. They expand across social media and are what pulls different posts together in one place for users to see.
A hashtag is simply a keyword phrase, spelled out without spaces, with a pound sign (#) in front of it. For example, #InboundChat and #ChocolateLovers are both hashtags.
You can put these hashtags anywhere in your social media posts: in the beginning, at the end, or anywhere in between.
These hashtags tie public conversations from all different users into a single stream, which you can find by searching for a hashtag, clicking on one, or using a third-party monitoring tool like HubSpot’s Social Inbox.
Note that, in order for a post with a hashtag to appear in anyone’s search, the post must be public.
Trending hashtags get a lot of views, so keep an eye on popular tags that you can use to promote your business.
However, be careful inventing hashtags. The perfect hashtag won’t be too long or too short; it will be memorable and yet not annoying.
Think about it: How often is a hashtag too long (taking up valuable real estate in a 140-character environment), misspelled or easily hijacked.
Companies that spend a ton of time and money working on brand voice, a great site environment and a calculate inbound marketing program, make a hashtag almost on the fly, to disastrous results.
Hashtag fails abound. Because these are multiple words, unseparated by spaces or punctuation, they often take on unintended meanings.
So, when Susan Boyle’s handlers wanted to combine Susan Album Party into #susanalbumparty, they foolishly thought the sniggering middle schoolers in all of us wouldn’t be drawn to the “anal bump” part — and comment on that, with a healthy amount of adult snark, on Twitter.
Using hashtags on Facebook comes with its own guidelines too. While on Twitter, where the character limit requires few and short hashtags, and on Instagram, where tags are used in excess to share images, Facebook is a whole other ballpark.
As noted in research by Socialbakers, the use of more hashtags leads to significantly less engagement on Facebook.
As there’s no limit on how many tags you can use on Facebook, people, over time, have abused them, adding them to every word and mention in the hopes of expanding their reach. That obviously makes the updates themselves harder to read and thus lowers engagement.
Mainly, you need for your hashtags to be smart, short, spelled correctly and relevant. When it comes to creating a hashtag, make sure to edit and rework it until it’s perfect.
The idea of a hashtag is to get people’s attention, so make sure the attention you’re getting isn’t because of awkward words put together or an embarrassing spelling error.
But once you’re ready, then by all means #GoForIt and promote your business!