The 1-Minute Solution to Boost Your Social Media Engagement
It's easy to say, "Yes, I have Facebook and Twitter pages and post on them daily." But are people actually seeing them?
Increasing visibility and driving engagement with your business' social media posts can be the most difficult part of managing your online presence. Relevant, unique content, attractive images, and scheduling are all tactics that social media managers utilize daily to do so. But what about something else - quick and easy - that will help boost your social media post's awesomeness?
The hashtag. Don't ever underestimate the power of a hashtag. Posts with a hashtag have shown 12.6% more engagement than posts without them (Later). They are the easiest way to join and start conversations with the online community in a bulk, easily-accessible fashion.
But what is a hashtag? Hashtags are quick, searchable terms beginning with a "#" that once clicked, pool together every social media post that has utilized said hashtag. Hashtags make it easy for a user to quickly find a product, services, contest, event, experience, or brand they are interested in.
Think of hashtags as the google search of social media.
A few examples of hashtags you may have seen are:
#tbt (Throwback Thursday)
#ootd (Outfit of the Day)
#nationalbestfriendsday (Day to celebrate friends on social media)
#repost (Sharing another person's social post)
#motivationmonday (Sharing a motivational quote or thought to start the week)
Some companies even have their own hashtags - so that their customers and personal posts can all be compiled into one unified conversation.
So how do you take advantage of hashtags?
Create a Branded Hashtag
Using a branded hashtag is a great way to create an authentic conversation online about your brand, engaging the followers that you already have and helping you to stand out amongst the crowd. It's important to remember when creating a branded hashtag, you want to create something that is fun and easy to remember.
Businesses often use branded hashtags for contests, special promotions, events, and more. A great example of a branded hashtag is the Lay’s #dousaflavor hashtag, which is a part of their ongoing contest to have their customers choose their newest potato chip flavors. This hashtag is simple, easy to remember, and allows their fans to feel a part of a big decision. See below for an example of the social media posts using the branded hashtag that populate when you click the hashtag on Instagram.
Use Community Hashtags
The next way to take advantage of hashtags is to get in front of potential customers who may not be familiar with your business.
There are many popular community hashtags that social media users are familiar with and utilize on a weekly basis (i.e. our hashtag examples above), so this is your chance to use those hashtags to your advantage. Community hashtags connect users a particular subject, idea, or event. As a result of using community hashtags, you can increase your reach, engagement, and followers, as well as show your timeliness to popular social conversations. If you are stuck on which ones to use, or don't want to use one that is overly saturated, try researching your target audience or industry influencers and see what community hashtags they are using in their posts. For example, a gym owner may want to use the popular community hashtags #fitfam or #fitlife to engage with their audience.
Hashtag with Caution
Before you go hashtag crazy, we recommend ensuring that you have a clear understanding of the social media platform that you are utilizing. Research the platform to gain insight on what the norm is for the users on that platform. With Instagram, you can use hashtags more frequently, but with Facebook, you generally only want to use one hashtag in each social media post. ( Search Engine Watch). Above all else, make sure you are using social media sites that make sense for your business and have the audience you are looking to connect with.