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Making hashtags relatable to anybody that isn’t Generation Z

In this week's guest blog, Betty from Approach PR shares best practice to help you master social media hashtags.

Hashtags are every marketers’ bread and butter when it comes to social networking. One common misconception is that hashtags are only appropriate for Generation Z - people who were born from 1995 to 2010 and are true digital natives!

However, this is not the case as it can be used by many in business to build brand awareness and widen audience reach.

Who

  • In 2007, social technology expert Chris Messina wanted to interact with specific groups and create an improved ‘eavesdropping experience’ on Twitter and thus began using them for relevant content
  • By 2009, Twitter introduced ‘trending topics’ and the age of the hashtag begun  

What

  • According to Hootsuite, the most effective hashtags are kept short, punchy and descriptive
  • Less is more, so avoid lengthy and complicated hashtags. They need to be easily remembered and spelt
  • Creativity and uniqueness are key – is there a play on words or a pun to make it stand out?
  • Search your hashtag before using it to understand how other businesses are using it
  • Ensure your hashtag is relevant and connects to your brand
  • Location-specific hashtags will increase your visibility to users in that location

Why

  • Online presence is boosted as hashtags are visible to anyone who has an interest in the hashtag
  • Brand awareness is increased as you can engage with potential customers and join conversations regarding trending topics
  • When your brand participates in a high traffic conversation for a trending topic, its more likely to gain good visibility, a bigger audience and increase the likelihood of new leads

How – Twitter

  • General and non-specific hashtags can have a real impact on your social presence as more people will be interested in what you have to say
  • Try to use general words, such as #responsiblefinance, as this is likely to reach beyond your follower list
  • Remember to join conversations and interact with non-followers. Take a look at how Apple used #AppleEvent to engage users and tech lovers
  • Avoid long hashtags as this can damage your social presence and make your hashtags hard to find
  • Try not to use too many hashtags in one post as this often dilutes the message   

How – Instagram

  • Using hashtags on Instagram allows you to widen your audience
  • People discover branded content by viewing and following topics that interest them
  • Unlike Twitter, specific hashtags are advised in order to boost brand awareness and reach a larger audience. It’s likely that general hashtags will get lost and rarely stand out
  • One tip is to see which hashtags your target audience is already using and connect with them 

How – LinkedIn

  • Similar to Instagram and Twitter, hashtags help to categorise content and connect with members who may be interested in the topic
  • Hashtags are a recent yet growing function on LinkedIn and using them can increase the likelihood of your business or sector being discovered
  • Remember to keep your hashtags professional!
  • Research hashtags that are niche for your brand in order to reach a specific community, yet also use popular hashtags to extend the reach 

Whether you want to be an established thought leader for specific topics or join in on the conversation, knowing where, why and how to use hashtags can shape your brand and change the social media game as you know it.

To find out more about social media training workshops, visit www.approachpr.com/social-media-content-training and learn more about Approachability, Approach PR's bespoke training arm.

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