How to Use Hashtags (for Beginners!)

How to Use Hashtags for Beginners - Blog by HighleyDesigned

Lots of my clients admit that they don’t understand hashtags. These are small business owners who know the value of social media but aren’t sure how to use platforms like Instagram or Twitter. Many of them are just getting used to Facebook! If this is you, or if you’ve just never understood this whole hashtag thing, here it is in layman’s terms. #hashtagsfordummies #kiddingbutnotkidding

What is the point of hashtags?
When someone uses a hashtag in front of a word or a phrase, that phrase is categorized. You’ll notice on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you can click on a word or phrase that has a hashtag in front of it and you’ll see a list of all the posts, people and photos that use the same hashtag. This is an awesome way to get your social media posts noticed. Why? Let’s pretend you’re a salon owner. Most people around the world aren’t on Instagram searching for “Sally’s Salon, Lancaster PA” (totally made that up), but people are on Instagram searching for “Modern Salon” or “Highlights” or “Blowout” etc. When you upload a photo of a great hair cut and style and you add those hashtags after your caption, your photo will now show up when people search those words or phrases! The same is true for Facebook and Twitter but hashtags are used in different amounts on each platform (I’ll get to that).

So let’s recap… Hashtags have a point because they help to categorize your posts, videos and photos by relevant topics, events and phrases. When your posts get categorized they get noticed!

When should I use hashtags?
You can use hashtags within a sentence if the wording is appropriate, or in a cluster at the end of a caption.

Example 1. Tune in tonight for #ViralChat at 9pm.
Example 2. Wow! Things are finally organized around the office. #organization #beforeandafter #springcleaning

The major social platforms for hashtags are Instagram and Twitter. You can also use hashtags on Facebook, but because Facebook uses a different algorithm altogether so hashtags are less relevant. If you’re posting about a big event or a trending topic on Facebook, use a hashtag, but don’t worry about using hashtags each time you post like you should for IG and Twitter.

If you are watching a popular show on TV or a live event like the GOP Debate, using a hashtag is a great way to have your opinion heard by others. It may even lead to a conversation or a networking opportunity. Twitter chats are another awesome way to make connections and most chats will have their own hashtag, for example Post Planner’s “Viral Chat” uses #viralchat. If someone searches for “ViralChat” they’ll be able to see all of the questions and answers that have been posted with the chat’s hashtag.

How many hashtags should I use?
I’ve done a lot of reading about this and with trial and error I’ve found that for Instagram 11 is the magic number. Photos with 11 or more hashtags receive the most engagement. It’s also important to pay attention to what time of day you’re posting and how long your captions are. You will find that your audience is more active sometimes vs others.

For Twitter I recommend sticking to 1-4 hashtags. You only have 140 characters to work with so it’s important to keep tweets short and sweet. If you can keep your tweets to 100-120 characters others can quote your tweet and still have space to add a comment!

Hashtags aren’t as important on Facebook so I recommend only using them when you’re talking about a major brand, event or have perfect use for a hashtag phrase. For example, “Is anyone else excited for the women’s all around competition? #Rio2016.”

Now that you know why, when and how to use hashtags, go tweet, post and plan away! And remember, social media is a lot of trial and error – you’ll find what works best for your brand or business!

~Rachel

 

 

 

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3 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Following

3 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Following via HighleyDesigned

My clients often ask me – “What should I be tweeting about? I’m not sure what to say and I’m afraid I’ll sound silly.” If you’re brand new to Twitter it’s easy to feel this way but you don’t have to be shy – Twitter isn’t like Facebook – you can say whatever is on your mind, ask a question or “share” (RT) a favorite quote. With Twitter, the more often you tweet the better. You don’t need to think of one profound statement or article to share each day – you can share many!

My best advice to anyone that’s brand new to Twitter is to learn from others. Take a look at what other people are tweeting or talking about and get some ideas of what you want your Twitter “voice” to sound like. If you’re a public speaker and you want to grow your audience and connect with other like minded women, look at the Twitter profiles of your biggest influencers like Oprah, MORE Magazine, Kim Garst etc. Even the president has a Twitter account these days. Take note of what others are tweeting about and how they are sharing information. Chances are if they have hundreds of fans and you find their content fun and interesting, they’re doing something right.

Now it’s your turn. Once you get used to tweeting regularly, sharing your blog posts and links to your website it’s time to start thinking bigger. If you’ve established a posting schedule and have great content it’s time to start expanding your audience. After all, there’s no point in sharing if no one is following! Here are some proven ways to grow your Twitter following without spending a dime. Trust me, they work!

  1. Tweet Regularly and Often and Interact with Others
    Not only should you tweet at least 4-10 times per day, you need to start interacting with others. Try to RT at least twice a day and thank people for sharing your content or liking a tweet. Use any interaction as a way to introduce yourself and if you want to learn more about someone send a DM and ask to connect on FB or LinkedIn.

    I’m not a fan of “salesey” DMs but with Unfollowers.com you can schedule automated DMs to go out to new followers and start a conversation with potential clients, customers or influencers. You can also auto schedule tweets to be sent to new followers, people who add you to lists etc. This is a great tool if you don’t have time to be on your phone throughout the day.

  2. Use Hashtags
    Hashtags are so important on Twitter. Not only do hashtags allow you to find out what’s trending and see what people are talking about, they allow other users to find YOUR content. For each tweet try to use at least one hashtag, and no more than four.

    When you’re trying to decide on what hashtags to use consider what’s trending, who you want to see your tweets, and what “category” you’d put your content into. For example, if you’re an educator you may use: #ChildhoodEDU #TedTalks #Homework #ParentingTips. Think about who the info is helping – parents. Who you want to reach – people that listen┬áto Ted Talks. And the category you’re talking about – Childhood Education or Homework.

  3.  Participate in Twitter Chats
    Twitter chats are an awesome way to meet other people and gain followers. Usually hosted by a top influencer or organization, a Twitter chat will be scheduled to start at a certain time and that person or organization will tweet questions that anyone participating can answer. To be part of the chat use the specified hashtag and all of your answers will be categorized and searchable. You don’t have to answer every single question but if you have a great answer don’t be shy – share it! A chat is also an amazing way to interact with others. RT great answers that you agree with or reply to someone’s answer to say you love it / disagree etc. Your goal is to show off your expertise and find others that you can do business with, connect with or learn from.