2019 Hashtag Guide
How to Optimize Hashtags for Social Media Marketing, by Shannon Gallagher
Hashtags are an essential social media tool — but do you know how to use them? Here’s our guide to creating a hashtag strategy in 2019.
Hashtags are a truly powerful tool in social media marketing — but with great power, comes great responsibility. Doing your research and developing a strategy around your hashtag is key. With proper use, hashtags can generate engagement, reach unique audiences, and attract followers to your profile! So, how do they work? And why are they important? Here are some of our best practices on hashtag language, and how you should be using them to target the modern 2019 market.
So, what is a hashtag?
Did you know that the first social media hashtag was used on August 23rd, 2007? Whether you are using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or any other social platform, it’s hard to miss the presence of a #hashtag. But what is it exactly? Nope, it’s not just a simple ‘#’ used on telephone calls anymore — a hashtag is a keyword or phrase preceded with the hash ‘#’ symbol on online platforms. A hashtag is used on a post or comment to highlight the content within. The hashtag makes it possible for your content to reach wider audiences, even if they’re not your followers or fans! Users can search this hashtag term, and your post will come up.
Why should you use a hashtag?
If you are looking to grow your followers, market your product or service, increase conversions and generate marketing awareness — hashtags are a good place to start. Using a hashtag means that you aren’t limited to your fans and followers and that your content is discoverable by the world wide web. Choosing one or two powerful hashtags is much more useful than using many meaningless hashtags. So, how do you choose a hashtag? Don’t fret! We’ve got you covered with some tips and tricks:
- Research is your best friend
Do your research! Categorize your demographics and use active hashtags to deliver the right content to the right audiences. Use tools such as hashtags.org to navigate and identify what hashtags you should be using for your area of business. Search your hashtags on all platforms and see what comes up before you put them into practice!
- Keep your hashtags short
The shorter your hashtag, the easier it will be for others to remember and search. Make it obvious to your brand, even if it is unique!
- Don’t overuse hashtags in your posts
#Don’t #overuse #hashtags and don’t use them to form a sentence. Use one or two strong, well-researched hashtags to get your point across. You’ll see better engagement this way!
- Use hashtags to run campaigns and contests
When used correctly, a hashtag can prove very successful in running full campaigns and contests! Design your own unique (but clear) hashtags to track engagement on content, events, and contests. You really can have a lot of fun with this social tool once you get the hang of it.
When used correctly, hashtag usage on Twitter can grow your reach and promote your discoverable content. Research shows that Twitter posts containing 1 or 2 hashtags doubles engagement by about 50% — so try it out in your next few tweets and keep track of what works and what doesn’t.
Hashtags work particularly well on Instagram. Do your research by using free online hashtag tools to determine what hashtags will work best for you on this platform. It’s also a great idea to look into your competitors to see what hashtags they are using and if it seems to be working for them. You can also consider using hashtags that are relevant to your surrounding location, these are often very popular on Instagram. You can use up to 30 hashtags on Instagram but engagement rates are highest at about 3–4 hashtags so we recommend sticking to that number!
Hashtags aren’t key in driving engagement on Facebook posts, and research shows that sometimes engagement is higher when you don’t use hashtags at all. If you choose to use hashtags on Facebook, be strategic. Use single branded hashtags to get your point across.
Using hashtags that are specific and describe the pin is encouraged on Pinterest. Use words and phrases that are true in describing the pin — we recommend you stick to 20 hashtags or less on this platform.
Hashtags on LinkedIn allows users to discover new content and join in on new conversations based on interests and common topics. Users can also follow specific hashtags for long-term use. Related hashtags will be suggested by the LinkedIn platform, but you can also create your own! Although there’s no limit to hashtag usage on this platform, we recommend you keep it to a strong maximum of 2 or 3.
Ready to make an impact online through the use of hashtags? Put our tips to the test and start testing and tracking your hashtags!
Shannon is a Social Media Coordinator with VERB Interactive — a leader in digital marketing, specializing in solutions for the travel and hospitality industry. Find out more at www.verbinteractive.com.