How to Master the Hashtag

The hashtag is a versatile, valuable tool. Whether you are creating a campaign-specific hashtag, using the trendiest hashtags to participate in social chatter, or using hashtags as an extended commentary on your social-media posts, their effective use can take your audience engagement to the next level. When used well, they can make your branded content more visible and make it easy for you to track engagement. Here are some ways to master the hashtag:

Don’t Be Too General

If you are creating a campaign-specific hashtag, avoid choosing one that is too general. A hashtag that is too vague will cloud up your campaign, creating confusion and reducing the impact. For example, consider a beauty company creating a hashtag for a selfie campaign. Many people might use #beyourself for unrelated reasons, making it a poor choice; a catchy but more specific hashtag, such as #uniquelyme, would be more appropriate.

Take Inspiration from Your SEO Keywords

If you are an active marketer, chances are you have developed a number of search engine optimization (SEO) keywords that you incorporate into various campaigns. When deciding which hashtags to use, look to the keywords you have already developed for inspiration. Remember, however, that your SEO keywords won’t directly translate to hashtags. You may need to split up keywords, combine different words, take out words, or change their order to create a keyword that is succinct and useful.

Jump on Popular Hashtags

Joining in on social media trends is easy with hashtags. For example, while the “throwback Thursday” trend (#tbt) is popular among individuals using social media, many companies also participate, posting #tbt with pictures from the company’s earlier days. In particular, look for topical trends. For example, if your company is live blogging an event, be sure to use the most popular tags for that event in order to help get your posts seen.

Express Your Personality

Hashtags are also a way to convey your brand’s personality. They can serve as a sort of aside to your main message, injecting some humor. How you use them in this way depends heavily on the type of tone you like to use in your content marketing, but remember that hashtags are more than a tagging tool, they are also a brand-building tool.

Consider Using a Hashtag Tool

There are a variety of hashtag tools that you can use to enhance their use. Some, like Trendsmap, allow you to track local hashtags. Others, like hashtags.org, help you identify which hashtags are trending now. There are also tools that allow you to track who is using various hashtags and how. These and other tools can streamline your use of hashtags and help ensure that you are using the best ones for the situation.

How comfortable are you with using hashtags? Share in the comments!

This post was originally published on the One Smooth Stone blog on June 2, 2015. For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to build your brand and inspire an audience through events and communications, please contact Brian Duffy by calling 630.427.4235 or by emailing bduffy@onesmoothstone.com

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