It’s official, #hashtags have taken over the internet. Much like memes, gifs, and audio-less fast motion cooking instructional videos, #hashtags fill up social media news feeds. However, unlike the other popular content types, what’s unique to #hashtags is that they organize conversations across the web. Even Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake had something to say about #hashtags.
#Hashtags started around 2007 on Twitter, and have rapidly grown into a common medium for users to express their feelings or interests primarily on social networks. As the summer of sport kicks off, it’s a good idea for you to consider incorporating #hashtags into your content strategy as a key ingredient to #drawthecrowds.
#Hashtags are quite simple to use and can attract new users to your content when you understand how they work. Essentially, when the pound/hash sign is used in front of a group of words it automatically turns that group of words into a searchable link. This transforms those keywords into a conversation that the entire web can participate in and follow.
The use of #hashtags can be boiled down into two main use cases:
- Create your own, unique #hashtag to organize your content and start a conversation. This could be tricky because there are millions of #hashtags online, so don’t be afraid to repurpose one that exists. AdSense uses original #hashtags like #AdSenseGuide to promote our downloadable content or #AskAdSense for our Q&A sessions. We’re also using #drawthecrowds during the summer season to help AdSense publishers draw crowds to your content during big events.
- Use an existing #hashtag and join in on a conversation. Use social network search options to find trending #hashtags that are relevant to your audience and join the conversation. For example, #BurningMan is a popular #hashtag used in the summer months to find news and updates about the annual event. Everyone from news publications to the thousands of people in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada will be using #BurningMan to share their perspective of the Burning Man experience. Using existing and popular #hashtags presents an opportunity for you to contribute your unique perspective to the digital conversation.
To get the most out of #hashtags, here’s a “do and don’t” list to reference as you build out your content strategy:
- Use one to three #hashtags per post, any more is generally overdoing it.
- Use #hashtags that are relevant to your audience or ones that your industry is using. If you’re writing an article on the food to try, you could use #hashtags like #Foodie and #Yummy so users will find you when they search for those always trending keywords.
- It’s ok to be specific. In most cases, the more specific the #hashtag, the better. If you’re going to talk about do it yourself (DIY) summer projects, you’d want to use #hashtags like #diyprojects, #diyideas or #diyweddings instead of general keywords like #DIY or #DoItYourSelf. Using specific #hashtags helps users pinpoint the exact content they’re looking for.
- Letters and numbers are OK to use in #hashtags.
- Keep #hashtags short.
- Don’t string too many words together. #itbecomesreallyreallyhardtoread and it can take up most of your Twitter character count.
- Don’t use punctuation marks or spaces, they will break the searchable link.
- Don’t use the same hashtag twice in the same social post. It’s just #weird.
Now that you understand how to use #hashtags and how they can help you #drawthecrowds this summer, share with us how you’re going to incorporate them into your content strategy – we’d love to follow along.
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Posted by Jay Castro, AdSense Content Marketing Specialist