Hashtags. You’ve heard about them, you’ve seen them on your News Feed, you even concede to needing them when building your digital profile – but #WhatIsAHashtag? Cassandra Coccionlone* explains.
In the online world a hashtag, more commonly known as the pound sign (#), transforms any word or phrase that it proceeds into a searchable link.
To better understand, imagine a filing cabinet. A filing cabinet is categorised by topic or assorted in order and adding a hashtag on your social media post is, in a way, exactly the same.
Take the word “skincare” for example. When you hashtag #skincare you add a new hanging file to your filing cabinet ready to be filled with related material.
In digital land, adding the hashtag #skincare creates a searchable link. When you click on that link you open the filing cabinet draw and pull out the “skincare” hanging file.
Inside you find the material you added as well as a collection of posts added by other users (Facebook, Twitter or Instagram users for example, depending on which platform you are using).
In essence, a hashtag groups together relative material across social media platforms making them easily accessible and neatly organised.
So, if all a hashtag does is appeal to people’s organised side, what is all the hype about?
- Hashtags breed exposure. By using relevant hashtags your audience expands further than just your followers, reaching people who share your interests but are yet to discover (fall in love with) your brand or business specifically.
- Hashtagging a business or brand name (for example #ocosmedics) creates a robust resource library of images, copy and discussion that you can use in future efforts.
- Customised hashtags are brilliant for measuring the effectiveness of a campaign. For example, if O Cosmedics runs a competition asking people to upload a selfie and hashtag #oselfie to enter, the number of entrants and success of the campaign is visible and can be measured by the searchable link created by the hashtag.
- Adding a hashtag to your post allows you to join the wider conversation and establish yourself as a credible source of information. Imagine the topic of debate was “should children wear sunscreen to school” and the hashtag used in conversation was #sunscreenatschool, by using the hashtag your expert advice would be broadcast to anyone, anywhere interested in that topic.
- Hashtags increase your reach and the proof is in the science. According to a Buddy Media study, Tweets with 1-2 hashtags received 21 percent higher engagement than those with three or more hashtags while Tweets using three or more hashtags actually showed a 17 percent drop in engagement. The “short and sweet” rule is as relevant as ever!
- A recent Nielsen study identified 83 percent of posts by top brands on Instagram included a minimum of one hashtag as a non-negotiable.
- The beauty industry is incredibly active online, especially across social media. According to data collected by Social Pulse, the beauty industry is ranked the eighth biggest industry represented on Instagram.
- The book Hashtags For Business by S. Zimmerman lists the top most effective hashtags for business as: #photooftheday, #loveit, #selfie, #instadaily, #picoftheday, #igers and #instacool.
- The same book ranks the top most effective hashtags in the skincare industry as: #musthave, #healthyskin, #antiaging, #facial, #exfoliate, #glowingskin and #spaday.
- Finally, social media hashtags are notoriously light-hearted and businesses are not exempt from the fun. Be clever, relevant, show your personality and engage your followers. #ALittleHashtagNeverHurtNobody
Cassandra Cocciolone is Digital and Social Media Manager at Inskin Cosmedics, distributors in Australia of 1Truth Serum, O Cosmedics, emergicC skincare and Viora device technology. One of her aims is to debunk social media fear factors and shed some light on how digital media can help take your business to new and exciting levels.