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16 November 2020 by Samantha Swanepoel

The Importance of the #Hashtag

Since we can remember the hash sign (#) has been globally recognised as the symbol placed before a number or the symbol on the bottom right of your telephone or Smartphone.

And this remained the case until 2007.

It was in 2007 that Twitter introduced the new function of the hash sign on their social media platform and this function became known as the “hashtag”.

Even though hashtags were initially created by Twitter to allow users to create custom groups of content, other social media platforms caught wind of the popular concept and now the rest is history.

By now most of us have heard of “hashtags” or seen them in posts by friends, brands and celebrities on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and the likes.

But what is their purpose?

Hashtags are now an essential part of social media marketing and today you are going to discover the importance of the #hashtag.

How #Hashtags Work

When you use the dictionary, all words are categorised according to the first letter of the word. So if you would like to look up the word “hashtag”, then you know that you will have to start your search by “H”.

Similarly, hashtags create categories on social media making it easier for users to find content and posts that are of interest to them.

For example, if you are a food-lover you might type in #food or #recipes to discover a multitude of posts related to food and recipes.

What if you are looking for an apple pie recipe? Simply search for #applepie.

When browsing through social media, users will scan their feeds for posts that are most relevant to them at the time and hashtags can help your post reach the audience that you are wanting to target.

How #Hashtags can Grow your Audience

By including relevant hashtags in your post caption, you will be able to increase the organic reach of your post.

For example, if you have shared a photo of your latest craft project you can increase the reach of the post by including hashtags like #crafts and #creative.

In fact, including hashtags in your post will not only extend your reach but encourage engagement because the post is been targeted at users who have shown an interest in these topics which makes your post more relevant.

By not including a hashtag in your post, you are limiting the reach of that post to your immediate following only. And with dozens of social media posts been updated by the minute, it is difficult to compete with them all without a little help.

But not all hashtags will be suited for your audience. Try to find out what hashtags your audience responds to by visiting competitor posts, seeing what your audience are hashtagging or finding out what hashtags are currently trending in your industry.

How #Hashtags can Increase Brand Awareness

Because hashtags make your content more relevant and targetable, they also increase your online visibility potential and, therefore, play a vital role in developing brand awareness.

Not only can hashtags help your business to be discovered among the competitors, but they can help you to initiate a dialogue between the business and your target audience.

Through the use of hashtags, the audience is able to become more familiar with your brand and connect your brand with popular topics and trends while increasing your visibility at the same time.

A great way to do this is by creating your own signature hashtags and using them in conjunction with trending hashtags to attract more followers.

How to use #Hashtags on Social Media Platforms

Each social media platform has its own hashtag practice which dictates the best way in which to make use of hashtags on said platform.

Here’s a quick rundown of the popular social media platforms:

Facebook and LinkedIn

Even though hashtags are now clickable on Facebook, studies have proven that hashtags are not as effective on Facebook as what they are on Twitter and Instagram. This is because, in the past, hashtags were not clickable on these platforms and, therefore, served no purpose.

However, times have changed and both Facebook and LinkedIn now have the ability to search hashtags and are used to categorise posts and content.

The only trick now is to not over-populate your post with hashtags. Two to three hashtags are perfect for Facebook or LinkedIn as users have reportedly said that too many hashtags become “annoying”.

Twitter

Hashtags have always been a big part of the Twitter community – no surprise since Twitter is where hashtags originated. If you use general or broad terms as your hashtags, it is likely that your tweet will reach beyond your current follower base.

As a result, you can engage with users who are not even part of your current following. This is a great way to expand your follower base organically.

However, because Twitter has a short character limit it is not wise to pollute your post captions with irrelevant hashtags. Stick to two or three hashtags which are important to your content and let the users do the rest.

Instagram

Creative and plentiful hashtags are the key to increasing your organic Instagram following and visibility. While Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter call for fewer and more powerful hashtags, Instagram posts often have over ten hashtags attached to them.

As such, hashtags are useful in helping other Instagram users to discover your profile which, in turn, aids your ability to build more Instagram followers.

Another upside to Instagram is that users are actually able to follow individual hashtags to view trends and posts from that specific hashtag.

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In conclusion, the hashtag is not a new trend but it is a trend that will not be going anyway any time soon. Not only can hashtagging increase your visibility, but it can aid your organic reach, engagement and provides a plentiful opportunity for increasing your page following.

All it boils down to is researching the current trends in your industry and finding out what your target audience wants to see pop up on their social media feeds.

Want to improve your social media marketing strategy? Contact the digital marketing team at Online Innovations for assistance with developing a social media marketing strategy for your brand.

Call us on 041 365 4919, email sales@onlineinnovations.com, or visit our website at www.onlineinnovations.com to find out more.

Want to improve your social media marketing strategy?

Contact the digital marketing team at Online Innovations for assistance with developing a social media marketing strategy for your brand.

If you’re interested in our services, please give Bronwen a call or email her for more information.

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