by on May 25, 2019

Hashtags are, of course, a great way to:

  • Build your company’s brand
  • Boost a marketing campaign
  • Keep in touch with your audience

And knowing how to use hashtags is crucial for any digital marketer in 2019.

That’s why we want to walk you through the dos and don’ts of using hashtags—as well as show you how to use them for GeeGram social network.

But first, let’s take a look at what a #hashtag is exactly.

What is a hashtag?

Before it became a household term (and even added to the Oxford English Dictionary!), hashtags simply referred to the pound symbol #.

That all changed in 2007 when Twitter began to use the hashtag as a method of indexing keywords to help facilitate good search results for it. Since then, most every social media site has been leveraging hashtags for that same purpose.

Fun fact: The first hashtag ever used in this way was #barcamp. It was posted by Chris Messina, a product designer and internet consultant.

Hashtags that spread quickly and get used by a lot different users begin to trend. That means that the keyword term is popular and getting widely used online. That doesn’t mean that every hashtag you set out to use should trend. It all depends on why you’re using your hashtag.

Why use a hashtag?

There are plenty of reasons why you should be using hashtags in your posts—but if we had to distill it down to three reasons, they’d be:

Increased engagement

Using hashtags in your social media posts can greatly increase awareness and engagement.

Twitter reported that brands who use hashtags see a 50 percent increase in engagement  compared to those who don’t.

Hashtags have also been shown to positively impact your number of retweets as well. Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella found that tweets that include hashtags were 55 percent more likely to be retweeted and shared by other users.

Brand building

Hashtags are a very effective way to build your brand via promotional material, announcing new products, or just generating interest for your business.

Here’s a good example from Lay’s Potato Chips. They utilized the #DoUsAFlavor hashtag in order to generate excitement for and promote the launch of their new chips.

Toilet paper company Charmin utilized hashtags in a much more tongue-in-cheek manner with their #TweetFromTheSeat campaign wherein they encouraged users to tweet at them from… well, the toilet seat.

However you choose to approach your brand building, be sure to utilize the power of hashtags so you get the most out of your efforts.

Find your audience

Hashtags aren’t just good for brand building and engagement—they can also help you find your target audience as well.

More specifically, hashtags can help your target audience find you.

How? Simple: By using the hashtags they use.

This method is especially effective within social media sites like Instagram where users can follow hashtags and see all the posts that use them.

For example, if someone follows the hashtag #travel, they’ll see recent posts that have that hashtag in their feed.

Instagram hashtag search page for "travel" hashtag

This is incredibly useful for brands who want to build their audience. By leveraging these popular hashtags that people follow, you’ll be able to get the attention of different users.

Be sure to leverage this tool when you’re trying to build your audience on social media.

How To Hashtag

Hashtags are simple things.  There are just a few technical requirements to know:

No Spaces Allowed

A hashtag can be a single word, an abbreviation, an invented combination of letters and numbers, or a phrase.  If it is a phrase, there can be no spaces between words.  All letters and numbers must run together without spaces in a hashtag.  You can’t have punctuation or symbols in your hashtag (other than the # symbol at the beginning).  Numbers are OK, but you must also have at least one letter with the numbers — hashtags cannot consist entirely of numbers.

Start With the # Symbol

To create one, start with a hashtag symbol # and follow it directly with letters and sometimes numbers.  Fun factoid:  depending on where you are in the world, the symbol # is called various things.  In the United States and Canada, it is called a number sign or sometimes a pound sign.

But in other places, such as the United Kingdom and Ireland, that # symbol is called a hash sign.  So you see, that’s how these labels came to be called “hashtags.”  In essence, a hashtag is a label that consists of a word or phrase tag with a hash symbol in front of it.

Create Your Own Hashtag 

Anyone can create a hashtag.  I’ve created numerous hashtags over the years.  You could create one of your own or several if you wish.

All you do to create a hashtag is think it up.  Then start using it in your messages.

Usually, you add it to the end of messages.  But you could add it anywhere in the message that makes sense, as long as it’s readable.

You are not required to register a hashtag anywhere. There are some hashtag directories around, but they unofficial, outdated and usually not worth the trouble.

Make Hashtags Unique

If you think you’ve invented a hashtag that’s completely new, do a search first on the social platform you intend to use it on.  We find that about 25% of the time, the hashtag we want to use is already being used for some other purpose.

Now, there’s no hashtag police.  So technically, there’s nothing stopping you from using a hashtag already in use. But doing so will cause confusion, or worse, be seen as an attempt to hijack a discussion just to gain attention.  If the hashtag you want is in use, it’s best to go back to the drawing board.

Don’t forget to check usernames, too.  Make sure your intended hashtag is not the same as an existing username on a social network.  Here again, it may cause confusion to use a hashtag such as #DellSMB if there is a user @DellSMB.  Besides, the user probably would interpret it as an attempt to hijack their brand name.


Topics: ads, boost, geegram, hashtags, tips
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