Hashtags have quickly become one of the most effective search mechanisms for internet users. Simply put, if you’re not using hashtags as part of your content strategy, you are missing out on a serious social media connection with your audience.
What Is a Hashtag?
Don’t worry if “hashtag” is a totally new concept to you — we’ve all gotta start somewhere! A hashtag is a word or group of words (with no spaces) preceded by the pound (#) symbol.
Common benefits of hashtags include:
- Instant click bait
- They are searchable
- They categorize content
- They make it easy to identify trending topics
- Users can “follow” hashtags, to stay informed on a specific topic/brand
Now, before you get carried away with #hashtagging, make sure you avoid these five common mistakes so that you can get the most out of your hashtag strategy.
1. Adding spaces between words.
As we said, a hashtag can be a group of words without spaces. For example, if you’ve written a post on search engine optimization, it’s a great idea to include the hashtag #SearchEngineOptimization, so users interested in SEO can find your post.
If you inadvertently insert spaces between each word, your hashtag simple becomes #Search, which won’t be useful to users interested in SEO. Remember, no spaces!
2. Extra-long hashtags.
Hashtags should be simple and easy to read. If you’re creating hashtags, which are basically entire sentences, you’ve gone too far.
Keep it to just a few words and feel free to capitalize words, to make them easier to read. For example, #socialmediatips is less appealing than #SocialMediaTips. In short, keep it short!
3. Using too many hashtags.
To get more eyes on a post, marketers sometimes make the mistake of including too many hashtags, until nearly every word is a hashtag!
Limit your hashtag use to around 2-3 per post, anything more is excessive and appears messy.
4. Irrelevant hashtags.
Using irrelevant hashtags is akin to click bait headlines. Often you’ll see marketers including popular hashtags in a post, just to get more views, even when the hashtag has zero relevance to the post or their business.
Using popular, yet irrelevant hashtags may temporarily increase traffic, but will not serve conversion rates.
5. Forgetting to do your hashtag homework.
Hashtags are free to make and use, so chances are someone is already using a hashtag you’ve got your eye on.
While some are generic, such as #SocialMediaStrategy and are okay to use, if you want to create a hashtag specifically for your brand, it’s a good idea to check if it’s already in use.
A quick search on any social media platform will show if your intended hashtag is already being used and to what extent.
The risk in using an already in-use hashtag to promote your brand can confuse your message with someone else’s and thus dilute or harm your brand image. Take a few minutes to do your research!
Catch more social media tips from some of our favorite past posts: