Let me be perfectly honest. When hashtags (#) first appeared in social media I really didn’t understand what they were. All I could think was why are they using the pound sign for things? Are they counting things? Is this a formula from Lotus 1-2-3? (#If you know, you know.)
Hashtags have now become a part of daily life and are even used in conversation at times, #selfie, #superbowl, #iwokeuplikethis, #icantthinkofahashtag. But one of the big questions that needs to be answered is how many hashtags should you use? Is there such a thing as too many hashtags?
You can definitely have too many hashtags. You’ve seen posts with more hashtags than content and that becomes overwhelming. Not only can it be overwhelming to the reader, but many social media platforms view these heavily hashtagged posts as spam and they get filtered out of the news feed.
Leveraging hashtags can help you with your SEO and target markets. There are also different types of hashtags. Targeted and basic. If you are using basic hashtags they are very generic and can be good for SEO, but too many and you’ll get lost among the messages.
Targeted hashtags are better, more focused tags that ensure you’re hitting the right audience for your niche.
So how can I #hashtag without a flag?
The rule of thumb for hashtags is go with 2-3 hashtags per post, and no more than 10. You don’t want to be a heavy handed hashtagger (should we #heavyhandedhashtagger?). Here are 5 things to consider when selecting hashtags.
1. Is it relevant?
Using targeted hashtags can help you refine your focus. How does the hashtag relate to your post? Does it highlight a feature, target audience profile, or related product or service?
If you are blogging about food you could highlight a particular cuisine, or restaurant. For example, You may be reviewing hamburgers – #beefitswhatsfordinner #burgersrule #samsburgers. If you are talking about your business service or product, hashtag it with something related to your business and a hashtag geared towards your target audience. Like #cockroachranchinglife #bettercockroachfarming #cockroachesforsale.
2. What message are you sending
When considering hashtags, think of the basic questions you want to answer: Who, what, where, when, why. If your hashtags answers one or more of these questions it’s probably a good one.
3. Use your SEO Research
Look at what your competition is hashtagging, consider what is trending in your area or niche. You wouldn’t hashtag the latest fashion trend if you are advertising ski gear unless it was specific to your product and audience. Again, it’s important to consider your competitors, your audience and your product when hashtagging your posts.
4. Tag your friends
Well, sort of. You want to make sure you are tagging any businesses you might be working with. This helps you and your business partners, plus it provides transparency if you have sponsors or paid promotions. Did you write an article for MAD Magazine? Be sure and tag them or @ them in the post. Have you been using a new software that you love? Tag them, they may just repost you and get your business in front of a larger audience.
5. Create your own
Yes, it’s true. You can create your own hashtag using your business name. Maybe you want to showcase a feature, or get people to explore your brand further. Here are some examples of brand hashtags that have worked.
While no one can say for sure what the magic hashtag might be for your social media campaign, if you keep these five things in mind the next time you’re getting ready to post you will definitely have a better chance of #winning.