How to know if your hashtag has purpose

Hashtags are like Marmite: you either love them or hate them. Whatever your opinion, they should be an essential part of your social media strategy.

Hashtags are largely perceived as youthful, informal and occasionally humorous, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them if that doesn’t fit your brand. Youth-orientated brands may choose to use them more liberally to relate to their audience, whilst other brands may only use a few select hashtags when relevant to get more impressions on their posts.

#Hashtag effectively - Lucy Lettersmith

Think carefully about how hashtags fit with your brand’s tone of voice and, if you have a social media manager, make sure you communicate this with them. It also depends on which social media platform you’re using. Here are my top tips for using hashtags effectively across Twitter and Instagram:

Twitter

Due to the character limitation, it’s usually only possible to use one hashtag in a tweet. Try to keep any hashtags you create short to make it easier for others to use.

Try finding brand-relevant conversations with potential followers through hashtags and join in by using it too. Look at your competitors’ feeds to see which hashtags they use that are popular. This is a great way to share your expertise on a subject. However, only use generic hashtags and be careful not to infringe on a hashtag created by another brand as this can be seen as rude and a conflict of interest.

Instagram

The quickest and easiest way to get ‘likes’ on your photos on Instagram is by using hashtags. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 on any one picture. Most common nouns and geographical locations are likely to attract visitors to your post.

However, the majority of accounts who find and like your posts through a hashtag won’t follow your account. As such, they aren’t very valuable engagements and it can be seen as tacky or ‘desperate’ to use a lot of hashtags to gain ‘likes’.

To be more discrete with your hashtags, submit them in a separate comment underneath the caption of your photo. This still works the same and makes your posts look neater.

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