How to Create the Right Hashtag

av Eddie Payton

They’re everywhere. Sometimes right in your face, other times hidden low in a post. Either way, social media is covered with them: Hashtags. What are they? What do they do? Why do I want them? 

Getting some attention on hectic, crowded social media platforms can be tough, so casting a wide net into the InstaBook Sea might not pull up the best catch. With a little help from our friend, the hashtag, it's much easier for creators find followers and followers find creators.

 

What is this “hash tag?”

Using the hash symbol (#) to find groups on social media was first suggested by Chris Messina in 2007 on Twitter. People began to use the hash to communicate with others and group messages together. It blew up when, later that year, people wanted to track the spread of the fires in southern California and #SanDiegoFire was most effective.

In 2009, Twitter hyperlinked hashtags so that users could easily jump to other posts using the same hashtag. This could be anything from #CutePuppies to #Oslo to #HurricaneIrma. Since its gain of popularity on Twitter, other platforms have taken notice and implemented the same hyperlinking. It can help everyday people identify movements, events, communities, and brands with just a short little tag on a post.

 

The Community Hashtag

Adding hashtags to your Instagram posts is nothing difficult. The catch is creating one that helps you and reaches the people interested in what you post.

Think about what your target audience might be searching for or already looking at. If, for example, I own a local café in town selling coffee and pastries, I’d include some trending hashtags related to coffee. I might start with #Coffee to include anyone ever interested in coffee and then find a couple more that reaches smaller communities that may be even more likely to enjoy my posts like #NorwayCoffee. The search function on Instagram helps find the most popular tags and can guide you towards which hashtags your targeting audience follows. Since the tags aren’t case-sensitive, users will find me on both #NorwayCoffee and #norwaycoffee.

 

The Brand Hashtag

The simplest hashtag is the brand tag. If you can, grab your business' name. Obviously, it can't be "taken," but you want to start using it before another business uses it for their own branding. Is it already in use? Then we’re going to have to get creative. While no one will stop you from using the same hashtag as someone else’s business, you want to build your own brand and see the response your tag is creating. Let's say my café's name is a bit too generic and used in too many posts, so I’ll take inspiration from my identity instead. We’re all about enjoying the outdoors and skiing, so I think a tag like #AfterSkiCoffee could be useful. It’s barely used and will remind my followers of who we are and what we are all about.

 

The Event Hashtag

Getting online engagement during an event you’re hosting can be handy for you as well as the attendees. A common hashtag can help everyone find information about what’s going on in real-time from others. To keep everything relevant, you’re going to want to make your event’s hashtag unique.

If the name is relatively short and unique, you’ve already got a working tag. A conference with a long name should opt for abbreviation. Really Awesome Local Business Conference takes up a lot of space and not too many people will want to write that all out, so I’ll take #RALBC or #RALBC18. Whether or not you include the year is up to you, but it’s most useful if your hashtag is very popular during the event so that you can compare the use year by year. Don't worry about getting super creative here. The focus is collecting posts of people there with you.


Now what?

Picking out hashtags to reach the right audiences can be strategic and fun! As you test out new community tags, you’ll see what works and what doesn’t. Tracking the response after each post can help you log which grabbed the most new followers and interactions. Try to keep tagging to a minimum so your posts don’t look spammy; a few good hashtags can do better than lots of mediocre tags!

Watch out! Often hashtags by younger users are used in jest with sarcasm or irony to communicate with their peers. Be mindful of this and don’t get you and your business caught in a joke you don’t want to be involved in.

 

Looking for more advice? Or someone who knows the ropes? Contact us at Racer for some guidance! 

Ylva Overå Hide

Community Management og digital markedsføring