As I was perusing my personal Facebook page this morning, I came across a post by a friend of a funny Youtube video by Jimmy Falon and Justin Timberlake called “#Hashtag”. Since I’m always up for a good laugh, and it’s related to a new technology / marketing phenomenon, I couldn’t resist and had to see what it was all about. After all, #hastags are everywhere now: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – every time you turn around there is a #hashtag in your face. This video skit shares a funny look at how people are overusing the #hashtag. Take a peek at the video below, or by clicking here.
So, while the video is funny to watch, it does raise a very important point – people are overusing the #hashtag! Not only does this overuse lead to annoying your followers, it also makes the hashtag completely ineffective.
We’ve written a number of articles here on Smallbiztechnology that discuss why you should use hashtags and the payoff you can receive by using them on social media platforms like Facebook. But what we obviously now need to discuss is how to properly and effectively use hashtags so they get you the marketing and engagement results you are looking for. Here are three tips you can follow to do that:
- Choose Your #Hashtags Carefully: The point of using a hashtag is to be found among the sea of social media postings, so the words you choose to hashtag have to be relevant to the conversations you are trying to take part in. For instance, if you want to be found by people looking for business information, include #business in your posting. I did a quick search on Facebook for “#business” and the image below shows the results. See how relevant that is to what the post is trying to achieve?
- Don’t Overuse The #Hashtag: Well…the video clearly demonstrates this point, doesn’t it?! Using too many hashtags will only confuse the conversation and it often makes the posting look like spam. A simple rule to follow is only using one or two hashtags in a post and making sure they hit on the most relevant topics of that posting. (see examples in image above). Another thing to remember is that just because the hashtag exists, you don’t always have to use it. Hashtags only work when they are relevant and take you someplace meaningful. Remember that!
- Put Your #Hashtag to the Test: Creating an effective hashtag isn’t about throwing a # sign in front of a word. It has to be something that is relevant and in use. If you aren’t sure if your hashtag is relevant, then test it. You can easily type it into the search bar in Facebook or Twitter and see what results are returned. You can also use sites such as Hashtags.org to see what’s trending now and choose relevant hashtags from there. Trending tags (assuming they are relevant) will further help you reach your target audience.