How to Use Hashtags on Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter
What the $#&* is a Hashtag?
A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded with a # (hashtag) sign. Think of hashtags as keywords, which are more easily filtered and searchable. Hashtags are written without spaces in between #betteruserexperience.
You’ve seen hashtags on all your favorite social networks, and believe it or not, they serve a very important purpose when it comes to filtering through all the “noise” on many social networks and also helps your posts, tweets and pins get found by others looking for information related to those topics.
Hashtags are available on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Flickr and Vine and serve many useful purposes. Today, we’ll discuss Facebook Google Plus and Twitter.
Since each social network treats them differently, there are some best practices as well as specifics to each social network. Let’s talk about ’em.
How Should I Use Hashtags for Marketing?
Hashtags are useful in marketing because they get our message in front of other people on the web that may not be fans, friends or followers. Hashtags can be used to promote engagement, increase recognition, and foster familiarity with a brand.
- Increasing engagement through online participation in conferences and events, Tweet Chats, AMA’s, and other social media-based events before, during and after the event.
- Identifying trending topics related to your industry to engage with others
- Have your own hashtag. (Examples: #Audi, #Samsung, or #MarcJacobs)
- To describe products, topics, phrases, campaigns so that others looking for those hashtags can find them.
- Hashtags only work when they are relevant and take you some place meaningful when you click on them. Relevant hashtags help people interested in niche topics find each other and find the conversation.
- Instead of #interiordesign, be more specific with #antiquefurniture #customlamp
- Don’t use tons of hashtags, keep it to 3 or less.
- Don’t make #annoyinglylonghashtags that are hard to read and take up too many characters in a 140 character tweet.
- Don’t #hashtag #several words in a #sentence. It’s #distracting.
- Research from Twitter shows that tweets with hashtags have a 21% higher engagement, but that number decreases if more than two hashtags are used in a tweet. This tells us that hashtags are useful, but they must not be abused.
Be wary with acronyms
- Aside from extremely popular terms (#DWTS, for the popular TV show Dancing with the Stars), acronyms can leave your reader in the dark.
Test hashtags before you post
- Just because you think a hashtag makes sense for a post or a specific campaign, doesn’t mean it hasn’t already used it before. The company RIM (who makes Blackberry phones) learned the hard way when they tried to coin #rimjob for job openings. Needless to say, anyone searching for #rimjob on Twitter got a stream of porno images.
- Don’t let that happen to you. A great way to research hashtags is with a tool called Tagboard, which shows how the hashtag is being used across multiple social networks including Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Google+.
- Maybe you’ve heard about the #epicfail that was Miley Cyrus at the VMA’s last night. Here are the Tagboard search results for #mileycyrus:
Hashtags on Facebook
Be aware of privacy settings
- If you’re using hashtags on posts on your personal profile, they’ll still have the privacy settings set up according to how you control your privacy on your profile. Just because you use a hashtag doesn’t make that post suddenly public. If you add a hashtag to a post that you only share with a certain group of your friends, only that group will be able to see that post.
- By including a hashtag in your Facebook posts, you can possibly get in front of people who may not have seen your post otherwise.
Hashtags on Google+
Use a few more hashtags
- Google+ is putting more emphasis on hashtags. Now, when you create a G+ post with hashtags, Google will feature them in the upper right corner of your post (a total of 3 hashtags can be featured here). If you don’t supply a hashtag, Google may assign a hashtag for you based on the keywords featured in your post.
- Google+ hashtags come with auto-complete, so you can see some of the hashtags people have used in the past. Hashtags on G+ are in boxes outside the post so so you can get away with adding more at the end without looking spammy and play around with different variations.
Improve SEO ranking
- Google favors Google+ profiles and pages in search.
- Every time you post on G+, Google re-indexes your site, making you a more relevant in search results.
Google categorizes the writer
- Since Google aims to organize all information, having a hashtag associated with an author is an easy way to learn what the person/company is all about, their area of expertise, and assign author rank.
Using Hashtags on Twitter
- Because of Twitter’s 140 character limit, keep your tag short: no one will use it if it’s going to eat up half their allowable characters.