Hashtag, noun

  1. A word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#) used on social media to identify messages about a specific topic.
  2. Something you say if you want to confuse someone that isn’t digitally savvy.
  3. What this blog is about.

Hashtags are fun to use. Sometimes people even like to say them out loud, which we don’t condone, but it shows that #people #like #hashtags. They’ve managed to stick around for a good while where other social media tools haven’t, even crossing platforms, and most importantly, they do the job they’re meant to.

So why is the amazing hashtag you use on your company’s Twitter page not working for you? For the purpose of this exercise, let’s say that there are three types of hashtag.

The first is a classic word or phrase that has been around social media for longer than Rickrolling. We’re talking about #ThrowbackThursday and #FollowFriday (which no one likes, but apparently works) here. Where these can help boost your social accounts, providing you spell them correctly, is that your post could reach a huge audience. These are trends that happen week upon week, so not jumping on the bandwagon every now and then is social suicide. Your post will be swamped by thousands of others, but if a few people pick it up and it gets out there, it’s worth it.

The second hashtag that can be useful to you is something that’s trending because of what’s going on in the world. This might be a day of the year (Does anyone remember #NationalDrinkWineDay? Me neither) or a current event, person, place – the list goes on and on. These hashtags get you exposure in the same way as the ones above, but be careful when and why you use them - a beloved celebrity’s untimely death is not a hashtag for you to sell your t-shirts. If you have something to add to the conversation, an opinion to express or some info that ties in with the trend – go for it! You’ll be surprised at how many of the day’s trends tie in with your business somehow, so get creative about it.

Third, and the hashtag that probably frustrates you the most – something that you’re trying to get trending. It’s tempting to put any random word or phrase in front of that # symbol, but it won’t get you anywhere. Everybody wants their own hashtag, and anyone can have it, but few actually get anything from it. Simply starting to use a hashtag isn’t enough, but if you put some work in, create a catchy hashtag that can’t be confused with something else, and give your customers an incentive to use it, there’s no reason why you can’t get on the trending list yourself. Use your own hashtag to see when your audience are interacting with you, and use the bigger ones to interact with a new audience.

They’re easy to do, but hashtags are tough to master, so we hope this has given you a useful insight into them… #GoodLuck!