Hashtags are everywhere. We use them to connect to conversations or follow events or ideas we care about. In some cases, rock bands even use hashtags as a cheeky song title. But as a business or on your own, meeting people where they’re at can help grow your audience and brand.
The question is: How do you pick a hashtag that works?
Be #relevant #honest
In order for hashtags to be effective and grow a personal or professional brand, they must be relevant to the content that’s being shared. They need to be accurate descriptors of said content and in no way misleading.
Here at Proof we use several hashtags for each post we make on social media. There are some mainstays like #prooflife and #agencylife. Yet, with posts about specific things, we adapt to include hashtags that are accurate and relevant.
Take a recent Proof post highlighting a client that owns and operates a CrossFit gym in New Jersey. The aforementioned mainstay hashtags were included, but others were added to be more specific to the client (#crossfit) and the project at hand (#webdesign). No matter what, just remember to be relevant and honest.
Step back and do your research
After you’ve picked honest, relevant hashtags to use, do your research. You don’t want to end up in the wrong conversation because your audience might miss your post. You can do this simply by searching the hashtag on the platform you’re using and browse the recent posts. You can also use tools like Hashtagify.me to see what’s trending and find related hashtags.
It’s also important to step back and “read between the hashtag lines.” Don’t skip this step and accidentally become a “hashtag fail.” When you string words together without spaces, the brain can pair the wrong letters together. For example, #nowthatchersdead intended to create a conversation when Margaret Thatcher died, but it also unintentionally started an internet rumor that Cher had died. Be sure to read between the lines before you post.
What not to do
Make sure there’s nothing misleading about your hashtag. Some people or companies use this deceptive method to drive traffic or grow an audience or fan base. It’s sometimes effective, but it’s dishonest and can likely be damaging to your brand.
Hashtags are a great and effective tool to use. They can connect people and businesses in so many ways. They just have to be done right, with a strong focus on honesty and relevance. There are many great resources and articles out there to be helpful for those that want to get better at hashtagging. So get out there and hashtag your heart out. Just do it the right and sustainable way.