Will the hashtag ever be known as a pound sign again?
The popularity and predominance of the hashtag has grown over the last few years and their use is an every day occurrence for most who utilize social media.
Those who love them use them in a variety of ways. With a potential audience of millions on Instagram, who wouldn’t try to squeeze a few into a post to increase exposure and engagement?
Especially for those of us (me included) who use hashtags to tell a story. It’s like a story within a story when it fills in #whats #missing within a sentence.
A hashtag’s effectiveness is dependent on a number of factors, and the hacks of the ‘hashtag game’ are constantly being revamped. Their usefulness is endless once you understand the principals of how hashtags have the ability to discover and connect you with your target audience.
A few tips that I’ve learned over time can help you increase the chances that your post or story is seen by more viewers outside of those who follow you.
The numbers don’t lie. It’s always important to research the number of posts that are under each hashtag you use.
If you’re using a hashtag with more than 400,000-500,000 posts, the chances are dramatically higher that your post will be seen by more viewers than if you were to use a hashtag with 1 million or more posts. Setting up footprints with your hashtags is the best way to look at the marketing strategy that is more effective long-term.
By using hashtags with smaller numbers, you’re almost ensuring that your post will be noticed for weeks or even months to come versus disappearing after a few hours with a hashtag with larger numbers.
The more visually appealing the post is, again the likelihood increases that it will be placed as a top post within that hashtag, and the audience share becomes even greater from there.
While we’re on the subject of numbers, the number of hashtags to use will also set you apart and get you noticed when leveraged correctly.
The limit for a post is 30 hashtags, and the limit for a story is 10 hashtags. You’ll notice better engagement by not adding the full limit of hashtags each time you add a post.
Stopping short of each limit is a better choice to increase the viewership. 25 or less hashtags for each post and 1 hashtag for each story gives a better chance that your content won’t be seen as spammy by Instagram.
The most important tip to staying on top of your hashtag game is to monitor your hashtags. At any time, your favorite hashtag may no longer be trending or it could grow to having a number of posts over time that’s no longer beneficial to your likelihood for exposure.
It could have grown to have over a million posts within it, or a trend could change the results you’re receiving when choosing to use it in your group of proven hashtags. It’s always best to research your list of hashtags every few months to decide whether or not to update and redesign your list.
The same way the pound sign has been considered obsolete and replaced by the term ‘hashtag’, the same can happen to the tags we use.
The best defense for any entrepreneur is to stay ahead of the curve by keeping yourself informed of social media trends to determine where to weave your creativity and brand voice.
Article by Wendy Maier. Wendy is a member of our Design & Social Media Management firm @ThePGC Agency. See some of her Social Media Management options here.