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The Use and Mis-Use of the #Hashtag

Hashtags! Love them or hate them, the hashtag is well and truly part of our social media lives. Gone are the days when you only need to carefully word your text or caption – you now have to carefully choose your hashtags too.

In some places it’s acceptable and expected to use multiple hashtags, on other platforms just one or two hashtags are the respectable limit.

Here are just some of the ways you should be using hashtags – where, what for, and what they can achieve.

1. #Keyword

The most traditional use of the hashtag is to use it to highlight a keyword or topic in your post. Although this is perfectly acceptable, in terms of benefits it’s basic, with many social media users just adding a hashtag for the sake of it.

2. #SearchTerm

Tools like Instagram’s Discover and new for 2018 ‘follow hashtag’ function have turned the platform into a search and browse platform of Google proportions. Whenever a user adds a hashtag to their post it is indexed by the social network and becomes searchable or ‘discoverable’ by other users. When choosing your hashtags, research first and use the hashtags used by similar accounts so that you’re more likely to attract new (relevant) followers. They’ll be able to find your content much more easily!

“Instagram posts with at least one hashtag achieve an average of 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag”

3. #Traceability

If you’ve ever run a UGC (user generated content) competition on social media you’ll no doubt have utilised a hashtag, or wished you had! A custom made competition hashtag not only works as a memorable marketing slogan, but a hashtag search will pull together every mention of it across the social platform, making it much easier to manage entries and measure responses.

4. #ViralCampaign

A hashtag can make a big statement in present day social media. Campaigns like #MeToo allow people to join a cause and voice their support, almost like a digital signature or virtually raising their hand. It’s powerful stuff!

#MeToo was tweeted more than 500,000 times in the first 48 hours of its use and was used by more than 4.7 million people in 12 million posts during the first 24 hours on Facebook.

5. #GetInvolved

Marketing campaigns using hashtags to encourage social media users to get involved can take reach, engagement and brand awareness to new levels. Get as many people using your hashtag as possible and you’ll be hashtagging your way to your social media goals.

6. #Event

If you’re hosting an event, pick a hashtag beforehand and encourage your followers to share content surrounding it. It will help drive participation and engagement and raise the visibility of your brand on social platforms.

7. #FAIL

Most importantly, if you’re creating a hashtag yourself, read it very carefully. Also don’t make it too long, don’t use punctuation, and don’t embarrass yourself…




For more advice on social media best practice and how to maximise your businesses’ digital presence, contact Red Marlin via @RedMarlinPR or call us on 01926 832895.

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