Do You #Hashtag For Social Engagement?
How can you use #hashtags to engage with followers and generate interest in your content and drive traffic to your social sites as well as your website and business?
The hashtag sign was officially brought to social media by Chris Messina in August of 2007 when he proposed the use of the tags as a way to create channels of topics and open groups. Here is a link to his blog describing in more detail about how he originally saw the hashtags would work on twitter.
Now most of the major social media sites incorporate the use of hashtags and they have become the most popular way to categorize posts, track trending topics and engage with and grow our social followers.
The use of hashtags on Instagram is a great way to quickly get likes on your posts and gain new followers. Using them in conjunction with relevant tags can engage users in your content. Adding popular Instagram hashtags either as a caption to your pictures or in the comments makes your posts more discoverable by more people that are searching for relevant or related topics. You can scroll through the popular keywords that apply to your pictures and posts by using Instagram's search function. Be careful not to use too many hashtags as your post can look spammy and become less targeted.
When I owned a restaurant I would often follow the National Calendar website and would find content that was relevant to something I wanted to promote. It helped me to generate ideas and promotions or specials as well as gain exposure and traffic to my Instagram page, website and restaurant location. Days of the week posts are another great way to gain followers and promote ideas or photos that apply to what you are trying to market. #thirstythursday or #tacotuesday became hashtags I could use on a weekly basis.
Tips for the best way to use #hashtags on Instagram
Search popular and relevant keywords that are descriptive to your content
Don't use too many #hashtags in your posts
Find ideas for posts by searching popular days or topics ahead of time and plan content around that. A content calendar is always a good idea in your overall marketing plan and #hashtags can help you with ideas for that calendar and will likely offer much more exposure to your posts.
When you gain followers and likes, always engage with them and follow back if it makes sense.
When I think of Twitter I think of abbreviated concise content with the use of #hashtags
Since they were first used on twitter they have become a staple for the social site and the way that topics are categorized, are trending and how conversations are generated. You can use #hashtags anywhere throughout your tweets, they are clickable and will reveal other recent tweets that fall within that category or conversation. You can also follow what is #trending on #twitter on a daily basis. It's a great way to stay up to date on current topics but also an effective way to generate your own tweets surrounding trending topics and quickly gain exposure.
Another great way to engage with people and topics you are interested is to participate in Twitter Chats. You can join in on chats that interest you, you can also create your own chat which is a great way to gain some followers and express yourself as an expert in your field.
Facebook is new to allowing the use of hashtags. I am not sure it will ever have the marketing impact or help users gain exposure and followers the way that twitter and Instagram do, but it's still offers a way to group your post in a category with similar posts or can help your posts show up when people search for certain topics or keywords. For instance I am from Frisco, Texas so I searched #Frisco and I found several websites and topics about Frisco. I think Facebook is doing it's users and advertisers a bit of a disservice in not allowing effective use of hashtags, but that's just my opinion : )