Monday, September 12, 2016

The power of the #Hashtag

Hashtags — what do they actually do? I see hashtags that have been added to posts. I have even used them, but if I am honest, I am not really sure how they work!


Hashtags were first used on Twitter and are now used on Facebook, Google+, Google search, Instagram, Pinterest,  and I am sure many other places, too! 

The hashtag appears to be the most popular means of categorising content on social media. It makes your own content discoverable and allows you to find relevant content from other people and organisations. The hashtag also allows you to connect with and engage other social media users based on a common theme or interest.



It has become common practice to use hashtags at balloon events. I believe that it started at the World Balloon Convention 2014 with #Worldballoon14.  It is a fantastic way to see all the different photographs posted by everyone attending. I was recently at the Qualatex Event in Johannesburg, South Africa. We created a unique hashtag for the event, #QualatexSA2016 and asked everyone to add this hashtag to all their pictures when posting on Facebook. We even turned it into a competition and awarded prizes to the photographers that captured the spirit of the event. We had great results and were able to see lots of wonderful photographs that we might not have seen without this common link! Plus, we can easily find these photographs again in the future simply by using the hashtag. These are the winning hashtag photographs from the event.


Balloon Wall with Jag Dhillon by Fyah Lighter
Photo Frame and Arch by Balloon Pop
Photo Frame by Madeleine Janse van Rensburg 




Using hashtags on Twitter

A hashtag—written with a # symbol—is used to index keywords or topics on Twitter. This function was created on Twitter and allows people to easily follow topics they are interested in.

Using hashtags to categorise Tweets by keyword:
People use the hashtag symbol (#) before a relevant keyword or phrase in their Tweet to categorise those Tweets and help them to appear more often in Twitter search results.
Clicking or tapping on a hashtagged word in any message shows you other Tweets that include that hashtag.
Hashtags can be included anywhere in a Tweet.
Hashtagged words that become very popular are often Trending Topics.

Tips for using hashtags:
You cannot add spaces or punctuation in a hashtag, or it will not work properly.
If you Tweet with a hashtag on a public account, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Tweet.
Twitter recommends using no more than 2 hashtags per Tweet as best practice, but you may use as many hashtags in a Tweet as you like.
Type a hashtagged keyword in the search bar to discover content and accounts based on your interests.






The Twitter Cheat Sheet Infographic above, is based on data from Buddy Media and was from an article that I read, "Twitter Cheat Sheet To Increase Engagement And Followers" on Linchpinseo. It's a great read and gives some very helpful information and statistics!


I was really interested to read that Tweets with one or two hashtags have higher engagement than Tweets that use more than two hashtags.

Using Hashtags on Pinterest
In Pinteresthashtags are only clickable and searchable in pin descriptions and they work a bit differently than they do on Twitter or Instagram. Clicking on a hashtag in a pin's description will not only result in pins that include that hashtag but also in pins that include the same word or phrase in the description.

I tested hashtags on Pinterest, and sure enough if you click on a hashtag it brings up every picture with or without a hashtag that relates to that word. So it's not such a great filter on Pinterest as it is on other social media channels.

Using Hashtags on Facebook

Hashtags turn topics and phrases into clickable links in your posts on your personal Timeline or Page. This helps people find posts about topics they’re interested in. To make a hashtag, write # (the number sign) along with a topic or phrase and add it to your post. For example:

I just saw the cutest puppy! #dogs

When you click a hashtag, you’ll see a feed of posts that include that hashtag. You may also see some related hashtags at the top of the page.
Please keep in mind:

  • A hashtag must be written as a single word, without any spaces.
  • You can include numbers in a hashtag, but punctuation and special characters (like $ and %) won't work.
  • You can search for a hashtag using the search bar at the top of any page.
  • You'll only see posts that were shared with you.

When you add a hashtag to your post, the people you’ve shared your post with can also see it in that hashtag's feed. For example, if you share a post with a hashtag  #Friends, they can see your post in that hashtag’s feed.
Keep in mind if you use a hashtag in a post you share to Public, and allow people to follow you, your post will appear on your public profile and in that hashtag's feed.
Using Hashtags on Instagram - extracted from an article by By Brittney Helmrich from Business News Daily.
Hashtags are a great way to help other users find your content on Instagram, just like on Twitter. Since users can both search for hashtags and click on hashtags they see in posts on the app, using relevant hashtags can be a highly effective tool for getting noticed. However, just like on Twitter, you have to make sure you're using the right hashtags for your brand, and that you don't go overboard.
Hashtags like #nofilter (if you're sharing a photo that hasn't been heavily edited with filters added), #selfie (if you're sharing a picture of yourself,) and #tbt or #throwbackthursday (if you're sharing an old photo) are all incredibly popular on Instagram, but they may not work for you or your brand. Using popular hashtags just because they're popular might annoy your current and potential new followers, and it will be obvious you're just trying to get more followers and exposure.
It's a good idea to look at other established brands (or even personal users and bloggers) in your industry for examples of what to do, especially when it comes to hashtags. A fashion boutique, for example, would want to use very different hashtags from those used by a bicycle repair shop, so following and paying attention to other successful Instagram users in your field can help you get a feel for what works and what doesn't.
On Instagram, it's not just the hashtags you use that matters, but also how many. Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags in a post or comment, but 30 hashtags is a lot, and using that many would be excessive. The fewer hashtags you can use to get quality responses, the better. Using a large number of popular hashtags might earn you a lot of likes from other users, but it probably won't increase your following all that much. The interactions you get will likely not be from people who are interested in your brand, but rather those who just saw and liked your image. If you aim to keep your hashtags relevant, interesting, and specific, you won't need 20 hashtags to gain exposure.
It's also important to note that hashtags can include letters and numbers, but they can't contain any non-numerical symbols (so #DaveAndBusters might work as a hashtag, but #Dave&Busters does not, for example). Using hashtags that don't work on the app might make you look like you don't know what you're doing, and they won't help you gain followers or likes, either.
Searching hashtags on Instagram is also a good way to find new users to follow and get your account noticed. For example, if you use a certain hashtag on your posts, or if there's a certain hashtag that is relevant to your brand, you can do a search for it and see all of the photos posted with that hashtag. Scroll through and like the ones you find interesting, and follow users with content you like. If those users think your content is relevant to their interests, they'll likely follow back — or at least check out (and maybe interact with) your posts.
Incorporate hashtags to categorize your content and make it easier for non-followers to discover you. We recommend up to three hashtags so they don't detract from the simplicity of the post. Ask questions to engage people.
To read the full article, Instagram for Business: Everything You Need to Know - See more at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7662-instagram-business-guide.html#sthash.nUdI9s8q.dpuf
Well, that was a lot of information! But it has helped me to understand hashtags a little more. It is important that you understand how hashtags work for each of the social media channels that you use. Hashtags used on Pinterest, for example, are not as effective as those used on Twitter or Instagram. One of the biggest tips that I have learned is that you should not use too many hashtags on each of your posts. Often, 1 or 2 are more effective than 3 or more! 
Businesses can really benefit from using hashtags in their posts. Adding one or two hashtags to a post can help to increase their social reach and improve brand awareness. Following and using trending hashtags can help a business if they join in on a high traffic discussion on topics related to their industry and service.

Here are just a few of the top trending hashtags that can be related to the balloon industry:

Twitter
#giftsforhim
#gifts
#gift
#bridesmaid

Instagram
#love
#picoftheday
#party
#pink
#black
#work
#christmas
#sweet
#birthday

Simply by using any of these hashtags in your posts could give your business a greater reach to new customers! Check out what's trending and start hashtagging!

#happyballooning!

Sue
www.suebowler.com












1 comment:

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