Hashtags are one of the essential parts of social media marketing and growth. For this reason, you need to get them right.
Hashtags were initially introduced to Twitter to make ease in keeping track of certain types of content, and ease them in finding the people and topics most relevant to their interests. As the trend grew, hashtags have become a cultural phenomenon - they're almost on every social media, and are even used in everyday conversations.
On social media, before implementing hashtags on your posts, you must first think thoroughly, do research, and exceptionally try to engage if others are going to use them.
While hashtags are fairly widespread, there are many people that aren't using them properly. Particularly on Twitter that started the trend, and also on Instagram, Facebook and others, using hashtags correctly can be a little daunting if not confusing.
Most of them make the same mistakes.
Below is a list of the common hashtag mistakes to make you rethink your hashtag strategy.
Using Only Popular, Generic Hashtags
The easiest way to use hashtag is to use one of the already existing and popular hashtags. This in theory makes sense because a popular hashtag is already experiencing exposure. But in practice, you won't get a long term benefit.
Popular and generic hashtags are already being used by hundreds of thousands of people. Combining them, there are millions of posts that may have used them. The competition for your new post will be extremely difficult.
For a single-purpose boost, using popular generic hashtags can indeed benefit from piggybacking other popular posts. But if you want to put people's interest on your brand, using those type of hashtag won't benefit your business or brand.
Instead, you should seek to use hashtags that are specific to your target consumer, the context of your posts, or industry keywords.
Using Popular But Sensitive Hashtags
While most popular hashtags can benefit you, some other popular hashtags can be sensitive for others to read.
If you want to promote you post to other people using those type of hashtags, the should know that the end result won't be well. You will definitely get an extra exposure, but not the one that you want since sensitive hashtags that don't go well may backlash or even outrage people.
As a general rule of thumb, never use hashtags that are already tied to discussions on negative news or information.
Not Researching Hashtags
Before you decide to use a hashtag, the next common mistake is to not doing proper research.
If you don't do your research, you'll be using inactive hashtags at best. Using them won't get you the exposure you need, nor the traction you want. Without prior research, you're blindedly use something that you have no idea how it works.
The worst case scenario is using hashtags that are ambiguous. Having different meaning, you'll target the wrong people. This will make your brand something that can't be trusted and won't give you any new positive reach.
Ignoring Local Hashtags
While the internet has expanded to more places around the world, the best place to start is from nearby places.
People on social media may come from anywhere around the globe. But when doing purchases, most people still opt for places near them as a priority. The reason for this is trust and reach. The closer a business is to their customers, the more it should appeal to them.
If you have a brick and mortar location, or need to target customers in a specific area, getting involved in local communities is also a great way to build relationship and gain exposure.
Not Testing New Hashtags
One good thing deserves another; never get too comfortable using one hashtag and not exploring new ones.
Hashtag comes and go along the trend. You need to continue your effort in creating new ones to pull the right audience at the right time. You need to try, test and use new hashtags whenever necessary in order to refresh the way people will see you.
Using the same hashtags over and over again can also make your post a little flat to your audience. And also because trends always shift, some hashtags will eventually just be too saturated with content.
Hashtags should be engaging, interesting and relevant. Users will stop reading your post if you use the same ones again and again.
There is always a room to discover new hashtags that may work more efficiently for your brand or business.
Not Using Related Hashtags
Using a hashtag that is not related to your post is one big mistake.
Sometimes you want to drive a bit of conversational atmosphere into your post by including one or two irrelevant hashtags. While this could be a way to build deeper conversation, it will also make things rather confusing.
This will in turn make your post unbearable or not professional.
Using Aggressive Product Promotional Hashtags
Social media is all about social engagement; it's about dialogue you're creating with your audience.
When your social posts use hashtags that rife with product promotion, people won't necessary like them. So instead of doing aggressive hashtags to promote your product, your tweets need to flow like a conversation, but still be able to tell about the product in a way that attracts engagements.
Making things promotional can annoy people that followed you. Your posts on social media should be more personal and asking questions, not bombarding them with promotional posts "forcing" people to buy.
Use "Begging For Followers" Hashtags
This was common on the early days of hashtags, but still however lasts.
Your business wants more followers for obvious reasons, and so does everyone else. The best way to get more followers is to make your brand appeal to them, not by asking them to follow you. The more genuine and organic your followers are, the more your social posts are reaching your customers.
Always post engaging content, take part in hashtag dialogues and generally show your business as something that people would want to have a relationship with. Begging won't make you attractive and instead will make you not trustworthy.
So don't be desperate by begging others to follow you because no one will like it.
Too Many Hashtags
Too much is not enough does not apply here. On social media, simplicity is the key to engagement.
One common mistake is that people are using too many hashtags on one single post. Too many hashtags will kill your message as readers tend to ignore what you were saying. The basic rule of thumb is to use only 1-3 hashtags within one post. More than that will make your post a mess and hard to read.
However, on social media like Facebook that allows longer captions on your post, you may use more than three hashtags. But always make sure that your caption is at least longer than the length of your overall hashtags.
The purpose of including hashtags on your posts is to make captions more interesting, making posts searchable and conversational.
While using unique hashtags can be a huge advantage in putting your posts upfront, hashtags that are too long can be confusing to read, and also difficult for others to use.
Particularly on Twitter that has limited characters. Since users have limited space to start with, if your hashtags are too long, other users may not have enough room to add their own content to their tweet. This will simply discourage them to exclude your hashtag altogether.
So if you want people to use your hashtag, keep it short and memorable.
Captions That Don't Go Well With Hashtags
A number of businesses are putting their business names under their own hashtags, hoping to get people talking. However, if the captions that come with the post don't go well with the hashtags used, people won't see the post as something interesting.
Having captions that just aren’t creative enough is a common misstep that often happens when brands are including their own unique tags for their business.
Your brand's name alone won't be enough to create a strong hashtag that is able to generate a lot of engagement. Ideally, your brand's hashtag, if you want to use one on your post, should go along other hashtags that are complementing the caption of you post.
Not Keeping Track Or Analyzing Hashtags
The purpose of hashtags is to ease users in tracking posts and ease them in finding people and topics most relevant to their interests. So if you use hashtags, you better track them to know how they perform.
By analyzing and measuring their performance, you can get an insight on the success (or failure) of you campaign. This is essential in any social media marketing strategy.
One way to analyze the success of a campaign, or to measure the growth of your reach, is to get into the habit of hashtag tracking. This can be simple like keeping track of the number of posts a specific hashtag has.
You can use tools to help you with this, and also to help you in measuring other metrics, such as impressions or more.
Not Using Hashtags at All
The worst mistake you can do concerning hashtag, is to not use any hashtags at all.
If you want to build your brand on social media, using hashtags on your post is one of they key to attract organic engagement. Unless you are doing extensive paid marketing and are already having a ton of engagement, using hashtag is necessary to get quick exposure.
Remember that hashtags are also a search tool. So if you use hashtags on your post, you're essentially allowing others to find your posts easier.
The key in using hashtags in marketing your posts, is to create dialogues that show your business as something that people would want to have a relationship with.
When you use hashtags correctly in your social media marketing, you should be able to reach people outside your network who are really interested in your topics or contents. This will in turn increase your growth and brand's online awareness.
Every business is unique. So if you're aiming for a long-term coverage, your hashtags should also be unique in a way that they can complement your post's caption.