Do you still think of this (#) as the pound sign? Then chances are you struggle a bit with the use of hashtags on social media. But don’t be embarrassed; many social media natives still struggle with using them correctly, especially when using them for business purposes.
With that said, you do need to get up to speed to make your blog or business as profitable as possible. Below are some simple rules to guide you when using hashtags.
While it can be funny to use long hashtags, ultimately they are only good for a dose of humor; these hashtags will not drive traffic. Short, easy to spell, and relevant are what you are looking for. The words included should directly relate to your content and make it easy for those who are browsing to know what you are about. Additionally, you want the majority to be hashtags that others are already using, making it more likely that your content will be stumbled upon, netting you new followers.
But be sure you aren’t forcing it. There is a thin line between keeping up with the times and being that awkward mom who thinks the kids relate to her, but really it is just uncomfortable. If you notice a trending hashtag that relates to your niche, posts, or products in a tangible way, use it. As for the others, let them go. And when it comes to any hashtag that has a political connotation, tread lightly.
Sometimes things that seem innocent really aren’t. When it comes to hashtags, check out the other posts using them before you dive in. You might discover that what sounded great is actually being used in a negative or obscene manner. Another tool in your toolbox is Urban Dictionary. It isn’t exactly the classiest source of information, but it will prevent you from making an embarrassing blunder.
Each social media platform is unique, and so are the popular hashtags found on them. This means that in addition to tailoring your content to the platform, your hashtags should be tailored as well. Always check what is trending on each platform before you create your hashtags and see how they can work with what you are posting.
Chances are you can come up with at least 10 hashtags that are relevant to your content and audience. So, should you use 10 hashtags? No. Some social media platforms are good for using multiple hashtags—Instagram is a good example where 5-7 hashtags are fine—but most need you to limit the hashtags either due to character limits or just helping your content look clean to readers rather than chaotic.
In some cases, you do not want a popular hashtag, but a unique one. This is good in cases where you are doing a competition or giveaway or you are trying to get your readers to interact with you. When you do this, find a way to work in your branding. Not only will it then be unique, but it will make followers of your followers more aware of you.