Searchability: How do Hashtags Help?
Since they were first introduced to improve searchability on Twitter eleven years ago (it makes us feel really old to write that), #hashtags have become an important part of modern communication. They’re everywhere, across nearly all social media platforms. Even TV programming uses them, and everyday conversation can include them. They’ve become a new feature of our global language.
What does that mean for you, though, as a business owner or marketer?
The Original Purpose
Hashtags appear in many contexts. They can indicate sarcasm, or a punchline, or they can add emotion to the main text of a post. They also categorize communications to improve searchability.
This last function is their original design purpose on Twitter. To make it easier for users to find more tweets about specific topics, they include the hash symbol (#) before a word or a phrase with no spaces between words. Users can then use the platform’s search function to pull up all tweets with that specific tag.
This served multiple purposes. It made it easier to group information about specific topics or events because ordinary users could add them. The alternative, writing them in code as metadata, requires more technical skill. By the same token, the information became easier to find, too.
Including a hashtag in a post improves searchability by making it much more likely that people who are looking for information on that specific subject can discover it.
For example, a demand generation company named Boom Demand (just to be totally random) would probably want to include hashtags in posts related to their focus. Hashtags such as #demandgeneration or #experientialmarketing or #boomdemand will help customers looking for those services find and connect with you via social media.
It’s a great way to connect with the customers who are already most likely to buy.
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You can also create unique hashtags for special events or marketing campaigns. These kinds of hashtags are better for driving engagement with customers, especially if they’re clever or interesting enough to go viral.
You want to be careful using them. Too many hashtags in a single post tend to look spammy.
“It is considered acceptable to tag a post once when contributing to a specific conversation. Two hashtags are considered acceptable when adding a location to the conversation. Three hashtags are seen by some as the ‘absolute maximum’, and any contribution exceeding this risks ‘raising the ire of the community.’” (hashtags.org, via Wikipedia)
The most successful posts in terms of engagement tend to use just one, and sometimes two or three tags. Any more, and engagement is only marginally better than no tags at all, so not worth the extra effort.
The exception to the above rule is Instagram, where the sweet spot seems to be nine hashtags!
Make sure that your social media posts use hashtags to maximum effect. They’re an excellent way to find customers and help them find you, which is just the kind of marketing boost we can all use.
We’re social media experts at Boom Demand. Help your ideal clients find you now, and scale up with a BOOM! Contact us today!