the relevance of hashtags

Use Hashtags to Increase Your Content’s #Relevance

Hashtags are tools reaching mass awareness as a buzz term, but their intended use is not fully understood. They are seen as punchlines in editorial cartoons and late night skits. They do get used in less than effective ways which are laughable, true. Behind that laugh track is a power which can elevate your message to an audience you might not tap into otherwise.

MYTH: Hashtags are silly and unnecessary

A post about #eating a #turkey #sandwich for #lunch may be ridiculous from your friends. Instead, if a local deli were wanting to tell you about a delicious new gourmet #sandwich on their luncheon special, that might get you thinking about eating there for lunch. Hashtags leveraged to entice or categorize data can target your message to an eager audience. Typically it is not the hashtag that is useless, it is the content wrapped around it.

Creating Your Own

I always encourage my clients to own their own hashtag. That is a simple strategy to help your message drive people back to you. It should be short and easy to remember. This tag does not get used on every posting you create, but try to work it into updates which are important to your business. What this does is adds a searchable meaning to your words. Claiming an ownership, if you will. If someone comes across your post and finds it meaningful, they can then seek out other items enlisting the same hashtag.

TIP: Use a hashtag to promote your own content, but leave it off re-shared material

Leverage Existing

While it is optimal to create and own your own hashtag, do not overlook the power of existing material. While it does throw your content into a stream bustling with other material, you are able to leverage the momentum already in place. This is a powerful thing. Ultimately, it does still lead back to your own content, but you flash across the eyeballs of people who might not know you but are keenly aware of a specific tag. #RWD is a good example. That is short for Responsive Web Design, a huge and important movement in web site development. While the world might not know of your client, if you sent “Company X launches their new #RWD site today!” people in that circle will see it.

TIP: Keep your content pertinent to the hashtags you use.

Search Boost

People have filters set up to sift through all the information darting about online. One of those criteria to sort by is hashtags. I have friends who find all their information by following tags instead of specific outlets. That is powerful and allows you to get in front of people who might not otherwise have interest in your area of expertise. Further, the major search engines are starting to give weight to hashtags. If you use them correctly and can gain traction, these will give you more legitimacy in your ranking leading to better search results. They are being seen as an updated version of keywords in your SEO efforts.

ROOKIE MISTAKE: Hashtag everything.

This is why the referenced opening jokes poke fun. While you might have a string of super important keywords to create hashtags from on occasion, not everything really makes sense. While #election is great in a political strategy, it is not really meaningful when used to share what movie you just bought tickets to see. Make sure that the content you wrap around the hashtag is served by the term. Especially if you send a leading message into the social sphere directing traffic to your content. Using the above example, you might only frustrate the political crews and completely miss the film buffs.

Go through your content and make sure that you leverage the power of hashtags. Keep them tied directly to your message, and ensure your message is on point. Treat the usage of them as SEO enhancements and your content will begin getting the love from user searches.

Have you created and gained traction with your own hashtags? Or maybe you crashed and burned by misuse. Either way, we are keen to hear your story. Drop us a line!

Image: niceone