Whoever thought that the # sign on our old push button, land line telephones would become SO freaking #important? I called it a “pound sign”, didn’t you?
Whether you are using Twitter, Instagram and now Facebook, the hashtag # symbol is now part of everything you post. There are TWO reasons to use a #.
1) For impact! It is now commonplace to end your tweet is a cute, funny or snarky way. For example, ” Hey @BradPitt, I had a dream about you & I in Paris! #AGirlCanDream” or “Thanks @Target, Your school supplies ROCK! #KidsThinkMomIsCool” . Those are cute and highlight a point you are trying to make. It can make what you are saying stand out.
2) To be found! Or to find people, places or topics. This is the way that #s were meant to be used. In Search. If you are looking for tweets about gluten free cooking, you could search Twitter for #GlutenFreeCooking and you will see the most current tweets containing those words. If you wanted to find pictures on Instagram with dogs wearing glasses, you would search #DogsInGlasses. I’ve done this and there were a shocking number of them. More importantly, if you are trying to target a specific user, you would use the corresponding #. If you were a trainer working with brides, you could add the #GotEngaged to your tweet. That way anyone searching for that term would see your tweet and potentially follow you or tweet you. This is where boring might win over creative. Your brilliant mind might come up with the perfect # for your bench press squat photo on Instagram but if the typical guy searching for that isn’t as creative as you are, well….you aren’t going to be found. A simple #BenchPress or #Weightlifting tag might be better. To find the most common # for your subject, just search! Then use the ones with the highest number of recent posts.
Facebook recently added the hashtag capability but it hasn’t really caught on. Perhaps it is because we mostly interact with people we know on Facebook and therefore we aren’t searching for new people. I just this moment searched #BenchPress and it did pull up quite a few companies and people that used that #. I definitely think that you should start using them on your business pages. Every little bit of search help works! Plus, you never know at what moment they will take off.
Twitter suggests that we should not use more than 2 #’s per tweet. I once read that it won’t let you use more than 3. That is incorrect, I just tested it. Instagram users seem to have no problem using 10+. I don’t think there really is an etiquette standard. I think the way you use # shows your personality. Someone who likes your super cute #MoreHashtagsLessSpam will be your fan and probably tweet back to you like that. Others who prefer less, will be drawn to those users. Let your personality shine through and get your point across to your followers. Try different ways. Use a few basic ones and see what action it brings you. I find that on Instagram, the more I use the better but they need to be basic and targeted. On Twitter, I tend to be a little more creative.
What works for you?