Using Hashtags The Right Way
I recently came across Chris Messina’s answer on quora about the reasons that led him to invent the hashtags a few years back. This was his answer:
Hashtags, as we know them today, were born out of the need to create a discussion and engage people around a particular topic. Hashtags are to social networks what SEO is to search engines. We can now all use hashtags to allow our audience to be a part of a conversation by creating a “virtual group” of small interest and intents.
When our audience sees the # sign, they immediately understand that we’re talking about a certain topic and that they are invited to join the conversation by using that same hashtag.
So as a business owner, how can I use hashtags to create a conversation with my audience and at the same time increase my social post visibility?
Before you decide which hashtag to use, be sure to check that it isn’t already being used by others. A hashtag should be your own unique discussion topic, if you would use hashtags which are already being used by others, your audience will work harder in order to join the discussion.
Make hashtags unique and interesting
When selecting a hashtag, you can earn a lot of points if you make it stand out by being “unusual” and interesting.
Lets say you’re sharing a content about positive psychology and you would like to start a discussion about it, using hashtags such as #positivepsych will most likely generate less interests and reaction than unique ones like #wordstoliveby or #selfhelp. Using your own unique hashtags can also help you differentiate your discussion from other discussions on the same topic.
Make your hashtags searchable
Like in SEO, your social media efforts are affected by what your audience will search for. Hashtags are being used in order to search for certain tweets and posts on a specific topic, what it means to you is that you must anticipate what your audience will search for.
For example, when Kate Middleton and Prince Will’s baby was born a few weeks ago, all publications around the world were watching and reporting every step. They anticipated it would make a big story and started sharing their reports on social media using the hashtag #RoyalBaby which immediately turned out to be one of the most trending hashtags the following days. They anticipated that the news would spread like wildfire and that the discussion will drive people to engage with their content - and they were right - it was reported that every minute approximately 23500 tweets with the hashtag #RoyalBaby were tweeted after the baby was born.
Use hashtags to tell a story
Recently I had the pleasure to spend almost a month in Berlin with my entire team over at Swayy, we wanted to post photos from our trip in a way that will help us tell our story in the form of a photo album, so what we did was create a hashtag: “#SwayyingBerlin” - and add it to each photo we upload. That way our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter followers could see a photo album of our trip once they clicked or searched for that hashtag.
Another great example is the Clerence House one. After the royal baby was born, the official press house of the royal family - the Clerence House - asked their followers and fans to share their message and greetings with the royal baby by using the hashtag - #welcometotheworld. People from all around the world shared their thoughts with the newly born baby and his family.
Hashtags are a valuable tool that can help us build a conversation with our followers and fans. All we need to do is to know how properly leverage their power.
TLV dude now in NYC. I talk and write mostly about social media, startup culture and how to be more efficient in life and in business. co-founder and CEO at Swayy - a personalized content curation and management platform that helps you discover engaging content to share with your audience on social media.
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