Hashtag feature
Hashtag feature

How to Use Hashtags in Your Social Media Marketing

You may have heard the news that Facebook is now allowing the use of hashtags on their site. But what exactly does that mean? More importantly, what is a hashtag!?

Let’s start at the beginning.

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag consists of words or phrases (with no spaces), preceded by a # sign (i.e. #SBW13 or #StanleyCup) that is used to tie various social media posts together and relate them to a topic. Topics are sometimes connected to an event, TV show, sporting event, or any happening or trend of your choosing. Originally, hashtags were created on Twitter, but today they can be used on Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Vine.

By clicking on a hashtag in a social post, that social network will automatically curate and display a feed of other messages also incorporating the same hashtag.

Facebook + hashtags

This week, Facebook was the latest social network to implement the hashtag feature (feature is rolling out gradually to users):

Facebook Hashtags1

Here’s an example of the stream of posts you’d see when clicking on #Facebook:

Facebook Hashtags2

In terms of privacy, don’t worry about private friends-only posts with hashtags on personal profiles. They will only be shown to your chosen audience. However, hashtags on business profiles are public. With or without hashtags, business page posts are public.

What is the point of a hashtag?

Hashtags let you add context to a post and show that it’s a part of a larger discussion. They can be good for connecting people to other individuals discussing the same topic and are also great for connecting people at events.

How can I use a hashtag?

To create a hashtag, simply include a # in front of a word or phrase, without spaces. A hashtag can occur at the beginning or the middle of a post. As a business, you can use a hashtag to make an event even more social, join other conversations, boost the visibility of a promotion or explore new content for content ideas.

How not to use a hashtag

Don’t abuse the hashtag, save it for when you need it. Too many hashtags looks spammy, and research has shown that engagement drops when a tweet has two or more hashtags.

Twitter Hashtags3

#DontCreateAHashtagThatsTooLong: Keep your hashtag short and sweet, easy to spell, and easy to remember. If you want to incorporate your hashtag across multiple channels, you need to consider the character restrictions of those social networks. If you’re creating a hashtag for an event with a long title like National Small Business Week 2013, consider using an abbreviation or acronym, #SBW13.

Extra Tip: Do a search for the hashtag you intend to use before you use it. You never know what people may be using hashtags to discuss. You wouldn’t want to accidentally connect your business to a negative, controversial or embarrassing topic.

It sounds complicated, why should I use a hashtag?

Whether you like them or not, hashtags are a key part of social media marketing. In fact, 71 percent of people on social media use hashtags. They aren’t that bad either. The same study found that 43 percent of hashtags users think they’re useful and 34 percent use them to follow categories and brands of personal interest like your business!

What do you think? Are hashtags on Facebook a bad idea? Tell us on Facebook!

Comments:

Leave a comment »
  1. Hi Danielle, thanks for the post. To be honest, I didn’t actually know how to use hash tags, but now I have a good idea. It’s so good to be able to just Google a question when you have one.

    Reply
  2. Thanks so much for explaining hashtags and their purpose. I’ve already started using them thanks to you!

    Reply
  3. [...] digital lingo kids are using these days, it will take some time to become attuned to what makes an effective hashtag, and what doesn’t. Take note of good techniques and practices in order to effectively reach [...]

    Reply
  4. [...] take a moment and discover How to Use Hashtags in Your Social Media Marketing an informative post by Constant Contact (no that’s not an affiliate link, I don’t [...]

    Reply
  5. So is it better to hashtag my business or my name when posting on my fan page? Ex. #juliegeigle or #heavensenthealing

    Reply
    • Danielle Cormier •

      Hi Julie, it would be better to use a topic or a trend. Example: #SocialMedia #SuperBowl #FunFact !

      Reply
  6. If you do not know which hashtag to use for your tweet, you may use the Sopularity app:
    http://www.sopularity.com

    It suggests the most appropriate hashtags for your tweets.

    Reply
  7. how about using hashtags on blogs? is that a good idea? I was told it is a good way to get traffic to your blog

    Reply
  8. I saw a company post a donation campaign using a hastag, I thought that was really cool for business
    Chris

    Reply
  9. pinky •

    I wrote a note in facebook and used hashtag in the title of the note ..it does not work. so the hashtags only work in status updates and not writing a note?

    Reply
  10. @pinky if you keep your privacy settings too much personal then #hashtags won’t work :)

    Reply

Tell us your thoughts