The World of Hashtags
by Yasmine Moulin
The first hashtag appeared on a Twitter post on August 23, 2007. In a nutshell, it was created to categorize content and make it easier for people to find similar topics or themes, follow and contribute to a conversation.
Each social media platform has their own rules and guidelines, so understanding the basics of how to use hashtags is important in helping you communicate with your followers, and to build engagement and awareness about you, your brand and services.
Using a hashtag on a social media post is easy peasy … just add the “#” symbol before a word or phrase, including numbers if you like, without spaces or punctuation. For example, #summer #summer2018 #entrepreneurlifestyle #socialmedia101.
How to use hashtags
Social media is all about building relationships and building your brand. To help you use hashtags properly, here is my Hashtag 101 to encourage positive engagement on three social media platforms.
Twitter – Use only one or two hashtags when tweeting. Stats show that using more than two hashtags on a Twitter post will have a negative impact on engagement.
Facebook – One or two hashtags only on Facebook as well for maximum engagement. For private accounts, your hashtags will only be searchable and discovered to your “friends.”
Instagram – Go for it! More hashtags the better. However, stats show that when more than 10 hashtags are used, some engagement may be lost.
Of course, just like anything, the above is a general guideline, experiment a bit. See what works for you, your social voice and your audience.
What’s a #hashtag
A hashtag is a word or a short phrase that identifies a word or topic of interest. For example, as a business consultant, I post on topics such as leadership, employee engagement, and social media. Here is an example of my post on Instagram on March 29, 2018:
You obviously know the importance of a solid social media marketing plan & presence. But you don’t have the time or know where to begin … Let’s get in touch!
#yasminemoulinconsulting #socialmedia #socialmediamarketing #socialmediaspecialist #digitalmarketing #smallbusiness #vancouver #yvr #surrey #whiterock
When you add a hashtag to your post, it is recorded or filed by the social network and then becomes “searchable.” When someone clicks on a hashtag, they will be brought to a page that aggregates posts with the same hashtag. And the exciting bit … without getting too complicated and explaining algorithms and how they work on each platform … if a keyword gets momentum, it becomes “trending” – a hot topic that everyone is currently taking about and sharing.
Remember to use hashtags (keywords or phrases) that agree with the content of your post. Don’t add a hashtag that has nothing to do with what you are posting, you’ll just annoy the person(s) that clicks on “#chocolatecake” and gets to your post about “real estate” and annoyed = unfollowed.
The power of a hashtag
Recently, Canada was devastated when hearing of the tragedy regarding the Humboldt Broncos Hockey Team. When sending condolences and offering support to the families and community facing this difficult time, posts included, #humboldtbroncos, #humboldtstrong. When you click on any of these hashtags, the thousands and thousands of posts/people united in sending their sympathies is very powerful. For example, my post on Instagram on April 8, 2018 was:
HUMBOLDT STRONG … My deepest condolences to the entire #humboldtbroncos community. Such sadness has come over all of Canada hearing of this horrific tragedy.
#humboldtbroncos #broncostrong #broncostrongforever
When attending a conference, you might notice they encourage you to join in on the conversation and post about the event and to also include a personalized hashtag e.g. #ABCConference2018 in your post. They are probably also scrolling on a large screen the social media posts. What a great way to encourage engagement, unite attendees, and build excitement about an event.
Explore the world of hashtags! See what everyone is talking about. Join in on the conversation.
I’ll end off with two of my latest posts on Instagram for you to enjoy.
#grilledcheese #sandwich #cheese #mmm #yummy #nomnomnom #foodie #delish
April 12, 2018
Happy #nationalpetday! #Mishka celebrated with some sardines!!
#petsarefamily #petsarethebest #furbaby #furbabies #furball #mamasgirl #feline #spoiledkittycat #kitty #herekittykitty #meow #prettygirl #yvrcat
April 11, 2018
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Yasmine Moulin is a business consultant and owner of Yasmine Moulin Consulting (YMC). Her passion and focus is helping individuals, entrepreneurs, start-ups and small to medium-sized businesses propel their businesses and careers forward to the next level of what success looks like to them. She provides social media; professional development and executive leadership programs and retreats; career coaching; and professional business writing services.