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  • Writer's pictureEsta-Jane Middling

Pt6 - The Power of Hashtags: Maximizing Visibility and Reach

Hashtags are a really contentious subject, with some Social Media Managers and Businesses swearing by them, and others adament that they are useless and dated! Some Social Media platforms are stating they look for "keywords" (much like SEO), so whether you use hashtags or not, make sure you carefully and strategically captioning those images and videos!

Once upon a time, the '#' symbol was just a pound sign or hash on a telephone keypad. Today, in the age of social media, the humble hashtag has risen to become a powerful tool for enhancing visibility, driving engagement, and creating communities. Let's delve into the world of hashtags and how you can harness their power for maximum reach.

Understanding the Mechanics: How Do Hashtags Work?

A hashtag turns any word, or group of words that directly follow it, into a searchable link. This allows users to find content related to a specific topic quickly. By clicking on a hashtag, you're redirected to a page that aggregates all the posts with that hashtag.

Harnessing Hashtags: Boosting Visibility & Engagement

1. Trending Topics: Engaging with current events, special dates or trends by using popular hashtags can skyrocket your content's visibility. It's a way to join global or community-wide conversations.

2. Creating Communities: Branded hashtags can create a community around your product, event, or brand. For instance, Nike's #JustDoIt isn't just a tag; it's a movement.

3. Enhancing Discoverability: Generic tags like #photography or #food can help your content appear on various topic pages, widening your potential audience. However, it's also important to remember that these are saturated hashtags - you might better to also use #photographyshropshire, or #berwickshirefoodie, where you are probably more likely to get seen and, perhaps more importantly, find your appropriate audience.

Try to keep your hashtags relevent (did you know, your post can be reported by users if they feel it's not appropriate for the hashtag used?) - I try to split hashtags up to include Industry Related eg #graphicdesigner, Content Specific eg #logodesign and Location eg #marketdrayton.

Best Practices for Hashtag Usage on Different Platforms

1. Instagram:

  • Number: Use up to 10-15 relevant hashtags for best engagement. The maximum is 30.

  • Placement: While they can be placed in the caption, many opt to include them in the first comment to avoid clutter. There is a debate that comment hashtags aren't searchable.

  • Research: Use Instagram's search function to find related tags and gauge their popularity.

2. Twitter:

  • Number: Due to the 280-character limit, it's best to use 1-3 targeted hashtags.

  • Relevancy: Ensure your hashtags are directly related to your topic. Twitter is a real-time platform, and relevancy is key.

3. Facebook:

  • Number: 1-2 hashtags are optimal.

  • Privacy: Remember, if your post is set to 'private', only your friends can see it regardless of the hashtag's power.

4. LinkedIn:

  • Number: 1-3 hashtags are suitable for a post.

  • Professionalism: Ensure your hashtags are professional and relevant to the platform's business-oriented audience.

5. TikTok:

  • Number: 2-4 is a good range.

  • Trend Participation: Engaging with trending hashtags can boost visibility significantly on this platform.

General Tips for Effective Hashtag Usage:

  • Stay Relevant: Ensure your hashtags are pertinent to your post. Misleading tags can alienate audiences.

  • Be Specific: Rather than #food, #VeganPastaRecipe might fetch more targeted engagement.

  • Avoid Overstuffing: A sea of hashtags can look spammy. Use them judiciously.

  • Monitor & Adapt: Keep an eye on your engagement metrics to see which hashtags are working and which aren’t.

  • Custom Hashtags: For brands, events, or campaigns, create unique hashtags. It aids in tracking and building community.

In Conclusion

Hashtags, when used correctly, are potent tools that can significantly amplify your content's reach and visibility. They can help you tap into larger conversations, establish your brand voice, and engage with specific communities. Like any tool, their power lies in how effectively they are wielded. So, #HappyHashtagging!

hashtag sign board shown next to a book called "how To"
How to use #hashtags

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