#HashtagHowTo

Most of us who are active on social media are familiar with the concept of the hashtag by now. Our social feeds are filled with those pound signs. For those who didn’t know, the hashtag was originally created on Twitter, but now is widely used on a variety of social media pshutterstock_162487649latforms. The pound sign turns any group of words or phrase into a searchable link. This ties social media content together to related topics, essentially creating a discussion. By clicking or selecting the hashtag, that social network will immediately take you to a feed of other tweets/posts containing that hashtag (this could be about a particular event, TV show, or commonly used phrase).

If you’re a hashtag novice, no worries – here’s a run-down on how to master the art of hashtagging, whether it’s for personal or business social media platforms.

First, let’s go over how NOT to use the hashtag.

Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 3.35.20 PM#LessIsMore

We all follow Instagram users who have about 10+ hashtags per photo. Simply put, don’t abuse the hashtag. Save it for when you need it. Too many hashtags make your posts appear spammy, not to mention your engagement will drop significantly. Research has shown that social media posts that have 1-2 hashtags receive 2x more engagement than those that don’t. On the flip side, social media content with more than two hashtags actually drops follower engagement by 17%.

#NoOneWantsToReadThisHashtag

Why? Because it’s too long. Keep your hashtags short, to the point and easy to read. Try incorporating abbreviations for events or phrases that are long.

#ThinkBeforeYouHashtag

Before you create a hashtag, especially one for your business platforms, make sure you search the hashtag first. The last thing you want to do is create a hashtag that’s already trending with a negative or controversial topic.

Why is your hashtag so important?

#Engagement

Hashtags have become a very important part of social media communicating and engagement. 71% of social media users implement hashtagging. Hashtags allow social media users interested in related topics to become part of a discussion. They are a great way to connect people supporting similar campaigns, attending the same events, and using the same products.

Some tips and reminders for your hashtag usage:

#CreateAVoice

Use hashtags in your posts to add a new dimension of commentary to your social media content. Hashtags don’t have to be strictly business; you can use them to create a voice and even add humor to your post.Screen Shot 2014-07-09 at 3.35.50 PM

#ContentBeforeHashtag

Whatever you do, do not just create a post of hashtags. Make sure there is enough content in your post to support your hashtag. Posts that just contain hashtags are often confusing and have no direction. Best practice is to intersperse them within your post or add them to the end of your post.

Don’t forget that hashtagging is marketing! Use them, don’t abuse them. They are a great engagement tool and tactic to create a community between social media users, but best of all, they are FUN! Play around with them, whether it be on your personal or business account. Don’t be afraid to get creative!

About the Author: Devan Vandergrift recently joined the IZEA team as a Marketing/Executive Support intern. She graduated in May of 2014 from Florida State University with a degree in Marketing.

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