Using Hashtags in Social Media

Blog Post By: Sarah Schrader, BPM Social Media & Creative Specialist
The shelf life of a social media post can last from a day to only a few minutes. The latter is especially true of Twitter! It makes sense why they were the first social network to make use of hashtags.
A hashtag is any word or series of words following the number (also known as pound) symbol, #, without spaces or special characters (i.e., !@#$%&*:). A couple examples would be #Blog and #SocialMedia. When you use a word or series of words in a hashtag, they become searchable. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram users can search for content that includes a specific hashtag, which can help increase the shelf life of your post! When it comes to using hashtags, here are a few tips:
Make Sure Hashtags are Relevant to Your Content
Just as you don’t want to mislead a potential customer with the description of what is on your website in Google searches, you don’t want to mislead potential followers and fans with what you are sharing. Hashtags are searchable, so don’t #dogs when you share pictures and run a business only caring for cats.
Think About What Your Customer Would Search
If you offer specific services, you can use those as hashtags. For example, we can use #Marketing with many of our posts because it relates to what we do, and many social media users search for it for marketing tips. You can also add your location for potential customers who are searching for your type of business (e.g., #GreenBayDentist or #WisconsinHairSalon).
Pay Attention to What is Trending
One way to stay on top of social media searches with hashtags is to be aware of trends or what people are talking about. Be creative, and find ways to use trending hashtags that will relate back to the content you share on your social media pages. Don’t forget about the common #TBT (Throwback Thursday) and #FBF (Flashback Friday) hashtags that are used and searched every week. They are a fun way to reuse past photos and content.
Tip: Find current trends by clicking the search icon in your chosen social app.
Do NOT Use Too Many Hashtags
One hashtag don’t is using too many hashtags. This becomes overwhelming and annoying to followers. A general guideline is to use no more than four or five hashtags per post, and try to keep most, if not all, at the end of your post. This is especially true if it does not flow well in what is being said. We don’t want to force hashtags. Remember, however, Twitter has a 140 character limit, and you may want to consider only using two or three within your tweets, so be sure they are good ones!
Create Your Own Hashtag! And Search it Regularly
Creating your own custom hashtag (using your business name or brand tagline) is a simple way to gain attention on your chosen social network, especially if you encourage your customers to make use of it. It becomes a quick way to see all the content you and others have posted with the hashtag. It also allows you to join in the conversation with your customers by searching your hashtag regularly to see what else is being posted. This makes using a custom hashtag for an event, fundraiser, giveaway or promotion really powerful. When you are coming up with your hashtag, it is a good idea to do a search to see if it is commonly used by another business or event – if it is, you’ll want to come up with a different option so yours remains unique to you.
#HappyHashtagging — and please feel free to ask the BPM social media team any further questions within our contact form!