If you have a social media account of any sort, private or business, you’ll have seen a hashtag before. They’re an inevitable part of modern social media communication and are incorporated into almost every post across multiple platforms (unless you’re too edgy for a hashtag, of course).

In 2014, it became official. Informal terms such as ‘selfie’ and ‘hashtag’ (in a digital technology sense) were added to the Oxford Dictionary and we haven’t looked back since. This OED entry marked the formal recognition of the power and influence of social networking websites not only as part of our language, but an integral way of operating as a society. Businesses jumped on the bandwagon and its commercialisation became inevitable as marketing departments everywhere began to capitalise on its potential.

From informal chats about how to get that #MondayMotivation (Tip: it usually comes in the form of a coffee) to the viral power of personalisation marketing in the #ShareaCoke campaign. Hashtags are important communication tools that bring people together from across the globe. These online communities inspire, incite thought and provoke an active response from the millions.

Hashtags for each social media platform differ, so here’s a breakdown to help you avoid those hashtag faux pas. I’ve chosen my two favourite social media networking websites…

Instagram is beginning to cater to businesses more as app developments occur (recently they updated their business insights section of the app). Everywhere we turn on Instagram now, we can see a celebrity promoting teeth whitening or some sort of detox tea – people go on to TV’s Love Island, promote products on Instagram and next minute they’re cashing in the cheques (maybe there’s a few things we can learn from Love Island, after all).

Here’s a few tricks of the trade to help your business on Instagram:

  • Search volume – Begin your word and, voilà, like magic you have multiple suggestions with numerical values with their search volume. The higher the search, the more attention it will generate.
  • Appropriateness – hashtag all the potential areas of your industry. However, make it appropriate and correct. No-one likes to be lured in by a false hashtag.
  • Brand – no matter what size business you have, don’t be afraid to start your own branded hashtag… even if it’s not for a specific campaign.
  • Don’t look spammy – create some space between your caption and the hashtags. As great as hashtags are, when in mass, they’re not exactly pleasing to the eye. This way it attracts the search volume needed whilst satisfying user experience.

#FridayFeeling: how best to use hashtags on Twitter for your company

Hashtags are a vital part to the operation of Twitter – so much so that one of their key features, top trends, is incorporated into the Twitter algorithm. Unlike Instagram where the search volume is calculated on the number of posts altogether, Twitter identifies topics that are popular now. It’s not as though your tweet will self-destruct, it’s just that it won’t be shown as a current trend and may sink into the deep abyss of Twitter.

Although similar in a lot of ways to Instagram, a few things to remember when using hashtags for your business on Twitter are:

  • Length – keep it short and sweet. Twitter is fast paced and this is your chance to capture your audience and make an impact. Long hashtags aren’t exactly easy on the eye.
  • Hashtag overkill – use them, don’t abuse them. Keep the hashtag relevant and carefully considered. Sloppy hash-tagging on Twitter can result in poor user experience.
  • Reactive – it’s important to stay on your toes with Twitter. Jump on those popular hashtags and check at regular intervals to see what conversations your business can get involved in.

Above all, social media is your chance to get your company’s personality across to the world and hashtags provide the perfect opportunity to broaden your audience… so make the most of it!

Thanks for taking the time to read!

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