Everybody’s talking about it. It’s at the end of every sentence of everybody’s social media posts. It comes in every flavour your could imagine. The #hashtag (or mot-clic, as they say in Quebec) is pretty much everywhere. If you’re ready to learn what it means, and how to use it, read on…
1. What exactly is a hashtag?
Because they let users group together posts of the same theme, hashtags are to social media what keywords are to Google. When a word or group of words (without spaces or punctuation) is preceded by that familiar pound key (#), you can click on it and immediately gain access to all posts related to that theme on social media! For example, if you type in #Paris2024, you’ll soon see all the posts that mention the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.
The more a #hashtag is used, the more popular it is. In 2017, the ten most used hashtags on Instagram were
- #Love (more than 1 billion posts since the launch of Instagram!)
- #tagforlikes (**).
(*) Throwback Thursday consists of digging up and posting old photos that tend to be a little embarrassing. (**) This #hashtag indicates you’re looking for more subscribers and likes.
2. How can I make the most of hashtags?
All you have to do is add # to the end of your posts and they’ll be seen (and shared) by a maximum number of people. Your post will be easy to find for all your social media users who are interested in your theme, not just your subscribers. To improve your visibility and reputation on social media, get in the habit of including #hashtags at the end of your posts, Your hashtags should mention your company’s location, as well as your business sector and sales activity. For example, a salon in Montreal could use the hashtags, #hairdressermagic, #hairextensions #Montreal, plus any other hair styles they specialize in. Though you don’t want to go overboard (too many hashtags will make the tool less effective), posts that contain #hashtags are generally more engaging than those that don’t.
According to specialists, there’s not much point including more than 3 #hashtags to your Twitter post. On Instagram the limit is 30, but stick to around five. Beyond that, you put your readers at risk of overwhelm.
Since #hashtags are essentially the same as keywords, they need to be both relevant and original. By avoiding too many generic, cookie-cutter hashtags, you will set yourself apart from your competition. You can also browse the latest trends. When you opt for what’s #trending, you’ll land yourself better visibility. But be careful not to spread yourself too thin. Your hashtags need to be related to the products and services you’re selling. You can also use #hashtags to search your newsfeed so you don’t miss any of the latest hype about your business activity on social media. Finally, with hashtags, you’ll be able to interact with other users about the same theme. If you still need convincing, just watch an episode of L’Amour est dans le Pré on TV (not Netflix) and follow the hashtag #ADLP to get live comments from Twitter users. As they say, this experience is worth its weight in peanuts.
Key Points to Remember:
- A #hashtag is essentially a keyword.
- When you click on it, you have access to posts related to a given them.
- When you use them well and at the right time, hashtags will improve the visibility of your company. And they’ll help you attract new clients.
- Use hashtags that are relevant, original, descriptive and adapted to your activity.
- When chosen well, hashtags give you the chance to reach people other than your subscribers.
- Don’t go overboard. (We know you’d do anything to get more likes and subscribers.) A few “customized” hashtags will have a greater impact than a mish mash of generic, cookie-cutter hashtags.