Have you ever gone on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or another social platform, seen a hashtag and thought to yourself, what the actual F? Yep. Me too. In fact, it happens pretty regularly. It’s 2019 and one would think that hashtags are easy to understand and easy to use. And yet, people still use hashtags like  #localbusinesssupportinglocalbusinesses. For real. I checked. They’re definitely easy to use. Any Tom, Dick, and Harry have been able to figure it out, but it’s clear that so many people still don’t understand the point of using hashtags and rather hashtag for the sake of hashtagging, instead of with intent or purpose. That’s why we’re here. Clearly, not everyone knows that. What is the point of a hashtag after all?

First off. Do we all know what a hashtag is?

I want to say yes, but there might be someone in the back wondering what it is. Remember on old school phones there used to be this thing called the pound button. Someone out there is going around using it as “POUND” in front of keywords, please just stop. That’s a hashtag. It looks kind of similar to a tic tac toe board. If you’re a musician, it’s the sharp symbol. Do you know what I’m talking about now? Here it is, in all its glory:

Hashtags were birthed from Twitter. The original intent of hashtags was to be able to find, follow and participate in a conversation. I would say the simplicity of that message still remains true. That is the point of a hashtag.

Hashtagging done right should be used to:

  • Be found
  • Be a conversation starter — use it to start a topic or discussion but also to share and connect over common interests.
  • Build an audience

So we know these truths to be self-evident, that hashtags are here to create a strong community that allows us to find, follow and connect with your audience by participating in conversations that we may not otherwise be privy too. On Instagram, it diverts a little bit and the point is really to find, follow and connect with your audience with visuals.

The easiest way to think of a hashtag is to think of it as a keyword. We use words to search the internet for something we’re looking for. Right? A hashtag is just like that but on social platforms. Hashtags done right can do so much more though.

Why do we use hashtags?

  • Increased engagement (Increased CTR)

    • Using hashtags helps increase engagement rates of your post and thereby the clickthrough rate. If you don’t use hashtags on platforms like Instagram and Twitter, your audience is limited to those who follow you. Using a hashtag increases who can see your posts and thereby increases the opportunity for engagement and CTR.
  • Brand building

    • Using a brand name in a hashtag is an easy way for people to find and follow a brand. For example, I love the hashtag #Costcofinds or #Costcobuys as it helps me find tons of deals on things at Costco.
    • Brand building is more than just building your brand though, it’s about building a community that ties into your brand. So, if you’re in the sustainability space for example and your brand is a certified B corporation, using a hashtag like #BCORPS
  • Connecting with your audience

    • Hashtags help you get found by your audience. We use specific hashtags to help our audience find us, to help find their content, to connect all of the things we have to say and images we have to share.
    • Using hashtags that are interesting to your customer base increases your chances of being found.
  • User-generated content

    • This is definitely a part of connecting with your audience but hashtags allow us to find user-generated content. Creating a hashtag that people use in conjunction with your brand helps you, the brand, find the things that people are saying and sharing about you. This is an amazing customer service tool. There is nothing more important to social than social listening. No one wants to be tone deaf, know what your people think about your brand.
  • Categorize content

    • Hashtags allow us to categorize our content. Many brands have more than one buyer persona, meaning, they’re targeting more than one demographic. By categorizing your content with hashtags, you now have an opportunity to help the right people find the right content at the right time. BOOM. Solid win when utilized correctly.

How and why we use hashtags differ based on client, industry, and platform.

As a general rule, it’s best to think of it as a keyword that helps connect brands to their audience, community, and social listening.

Hashtags should be done with purpose and have intent. Using a hashtag just to hashtag gets people rolling their eyes and wondering if you even know how to use a hashtag or what it is. It’s a great idea to use it as a larger part of a digital marketing or social strategy.

Don’t say I never taught you anything, the more you know – the more you know. Still wondering what the heck is going on? No problem, Danie Schwartz Consulting is here to help.

Subscribe to my blog. My next one will be focused on tips for leveraging hashtags. Either that or something else. #IblogwhatIwant –> 23 people have actually used that hashtag on Instagram. I can’t believe it.

Danie Schwartz Consulting is a full-service creative consulting firm, specializing in storytelling via copywriting, social media, and other visual arts. A perfect blend of creativity, energy, communication, brand, and strategy; we’re ready to bring your brand to the next level. We’d love to connect with you, call us at (530) 636-0193 or email info@danieschwartz.com today! or Schedule a FREE consultation today!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.