Guest Post By Adela Belin
Prior to 2007, the symbol ‘#’ was merely a pound symbol as opposed to today when it is better known as the hashtag.
Today, everyone on social media is using hashtags. While some brands are using it for fun, others are utilizing them to amplify reach or go viral. As social media marketers, it is imperative to include hashtags in your strategy, across mediums.
However, merely using hashtags is not enough. It is important to choose the right and relevant hashtags to reap benefits. Here are 6 glaring mistakes to avoid while coining hashtags –
If you think hashtags are one of those things you can conveniently leave for the last minute, you are mistaken. The best ones are those that are well-researched.
Once you have your hashtag strategy in place, start with the in-built search function on Instagram and Twitter – it’s the best place to see the kind of traction a particular hashtag is receiving or if the hashtag you plan on using has already been used before.
Most importantly, ensure the hashtag you decide upon hasn’t already been used by your competitor and does not have a double meaning because that could hurt your brand.
If you are having trouble researching, you can also try hashtag tools such as Hashtagify to find real-time data and insights about any hashtag.
Your hashtag needs to be memorable while reflecting your brand or campaign. Using a very common or generic hashtag kills the purpose because your content will most probably get lost in the crowd and will fail to speak to your target audience.
So, don’t restrict yourself to the usual, boring ones. Get creative – put some thought into the hashtag, list down your campaign objectives or call to actions and come up with something crisp and unique in order to stand out.
It is also a good idea to piggyback on popular hashtags such as #FollowFriday, #ThrowbackThursday, #OOTD (outfit of the day), etc. that are relevant to your content and other local hashtags which come to good use especially if you are posting about an event.
While generic hashtags are a complete no-no, so are the complicated and lengthy ones. Remember – it is a hashtag not a sentence. Hashtags are meant to be succinct. After all, you want people to remember it and use it as well.
Examples of some clever hashtags are Lays’ #DoUsAFlavor, Coca-Cola’s #ShareaCoke, Red Bull’s #PutACanOnIt among others. They all got immense traction and steered conversations owing to their snazzy nature.
Not Capitalizing Letters
If your hashtag consists of more than 1 word, it is advisable to capitalize the first letter of every word in order to improve readability. For instance, #InspiredByYou is likely to be better received than #inspiredbyyou. Won’t you agree?
#You #can’t #use #a #hashtag #for #every #word – if most of your posts look like this, you are doing hashtags wrong.
Yes, hashtags are important but that does not mean you overuse them and let them overpower your post. Going on a hashtag overdrive reflects poorly on your account, making your posts seem clumsy and spammy. Next time you are confused what to tag, think about what the main theme of the post is and use hashtag/s accordingly.
If you are coining one related to your brand or campaign, stick to one strong one and maintain consistency across your posts instead of using multiple hashtags and diluting your communication.
Just like any other campaign, even a hashtag campaign needs to end with analysis. It is not as tedious as it sounds. The evolution of hashtags has given rise to several tracking tools that specifically measure the effectiveness of hashtags.
Tracking hashtags helps you measure its reach, engagement, mentions and performance. Knowing these key insights helps you learn from your mistakes and plan better for your next campaign.
Need some inspiration?
Here are some noteworthy campaigns that were driven by the innovative use of hashtags. Check them out and step up your hashtag game.
Adela Belin is a Social Media expert and a writer at Writers Per Hour. She creates content surrounding marketing with a focus on social media and digital marketing. Feel free to contact Adela on G+.