Today we are increasingly time poor and impatient; we want to type in a search word and get instant results ourselves, and if you’re a business then that is exactly what your customers want too. So, how do you get that all-important message across in the ever-expanding world of Social Media?
Firstly, decide which platform you want to use, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Google+ to name a few. Each of these can be used to great effect as a marketing tool, but they all have slightly different modalities and different audiences which need to be considered when using them. Secondly, think what it is that you want to say and the best way to get this across.
Facebook isn’t the platform you instantly think of when discussing the use of Hashtags, but don’t be too quick to dismiss it as it still has large numbers of people using it. Research shows that a single hashtag can increase audience engagement, although their overuse can cause engagement to decline.
Twitter has a restriction of 140 characters, so remember to keep any “tweets” short, sweet and to the point. Any hashtags should be sparingly used and relevant to your business and/or target audience.
Instagram is widely regarded as the leading platform on which to use hashtags as up to thirty of them can be utilised per post, and there is no restriction on the number of characters either. For those who love statistics it has been shown that between nine and eleven hashtags produces peak engagement.
With perhaps the exception of Instagram where eleven hashtags seem to be the optimum number, try to keep the use of hashtags to one or two per post. It is tempting to overuse #hashtags, but don’t. Due to its character restriction Twitter hashtags, would be naturally low anyway. It has been demonstrated that both Pinterest and Facebook posts work well with one popular hashtag and one custom (unique to your business) hashtag; this is especially the case with Pinterest as it uses a category search format so “pinners” can find you easily.
So, you’ve got the platform sorted; now let’s deal with your content. Hashtags need to be short and memorable. There are a lot of them floating around in the social media ether, so make yours pertinent to your company and the message you want to deliver. They are an easy, effective tool to increase your audience through social shares and subsequent increased awareness of your brand.
Trending hashtags simply refer to a topic that is very popular and relevant at the time and can be a person, programme, buzzword or pretty much anything really. If you spot a trending hashtag that relates to your area of business, jump in there and ride the popularity wave and maximise your brands visibility.
Look into any hashtags that you want to use, just in case they have been/are being used in a less than desirable context; that would be #awks #awkward. You don’t need to use hashtags in every post; in fact, their overuse can cause us to switch off, so use them judiciously, and remember not to use them when replying to someone.
Don’t be afraid to use humour. We naturally feel comfortable with people that make us laugh, so use good natured text to engage with your audience. If your followers feel at ease with your brand it stands to reason that they will want to engage and interact with you, which then increases the likelihood of them purchasing your product or service.
As a final thought, your business is unique so analyse what is working with regard to the number of hashtags and the platform being used, and change things around if necessary. Remember the saying “adapt and survive”? In the business world, it’s “adapt and thrive”, so don’t get left behind.