Use Hashtags with a picture and quote - helping yourself and others too

If you promote yourself, your content, products or services online you need to use hashtags particularly in Twitter, Gplus, and Instagram but also in Facebook and Pinterest. They are an excellent method for increasing your social media presence and influence, and reaching out to others to help and mentor.

You might not like hashtags, thinking them unnatural, complicated, or too obviously promotional. On top of content writing, social media participation, and sharing, you may view them as an unnecessary task to add your workload. Thankfully, once you get the hang of them, adding a couple of hashtags here and there takes up very little time.

Reasons To Use Hashtags

Search

Every hashtag you use is a searchable keyword. Think of a hashtag as a type of  SEO  keyword but with two sorts of search engines involved.

  1. The search function internal to the social media networks.
  2. Google and other search Engines.

An internal search, within a hashtag supported social media site, brings up a list of all messages using that hashtag.

When you show up  in such a search, you are showing your own social media profile or page link, highlighting your content topics and promoting any links within your messages. As long as your post is set to be publicly viewable, instead of reaching only your followers, you are targeting everyone in the network who shares your interest. These are the people who are the most likely to visit your blog and or buy your products and services.

If you don’t blog you really need to find other ways of extending your social networking reach and hashtag use is important. I do recommend that you run your own self-hosted blog and I can help you with that.

Wouldn’t you like to keep up with your competition and show up in search results like this one:

hashtag search for the tag #socialmedia

Twitter search for #socialmedia by typing #socialmedia into the Twitter search bar Click for larger image

Although particularly important for Twitter, which has no group function, it is increasingly hard to get targeted results on Facebook unless you pay for it. Gplus is becoming more and more important and hashtag use is common. They are also used within Gplus groups to categorize group topics. Pinterest has experienced a phenomenal growth and is now important for your social reach. Instagram which relies heavily on hashtags is very popular for mobile users.

Have a look what comes up when you do some hashtag searches and find the ones that will benefit you the most. An extra bonus with Gplus is that, next to the search results, you are given suggestions for related keywords:

use hashtags - appear in gplus hashtag search for #socialmedia

Extra hashtag functionality within GPlus -related hashtags

This images show why it is important to use hashtags for Google Search optimization, just like keywords in a blog post. This search was for #business but try any popular hashtag and the results will be the same. First page results show up the #business hashtag search results for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Gplus. Gplus hashtag results are featured in the right hand side.

Use hashtags appear in Google Search Results for #business

All of these came up on the first page of a Google search for #business.

 How To Do Hashtag searches

  • On Twitter use #subject in the Twitter search bar.
  • For Facebook use your browser url bar and type in facebook.com/hashtag/HashtagNameYouAreSearchingFor. Don’t include the #
  • In Gplus search for #HashtagNameYouAreSearchingFor in the Gplus search bar.
  • Instagram – maybe someone can answer this one for me as I rarely use the platform.

 Hashtag Statistics

Although stats on hashtag effectiveness vary, there is no doubt that they do work.

Dan Zarella has conducted extensive research into which techniques are the most effective on Twitter:

  • Tweets that contain hashtags are 55 percent more likely to be retweeted than those that don’t.
  • More than 70 percent of mobile users use hashtags.
  • Tweets that include links are 86% more likely get a  retweet. Add a hashtag to your link posts and take advantage of this.

Twitter recently announced that:

  • A tweet is 16 percent more likely to be re-tweeted if it contains just a hashtag. My notes:Note: Retweeting is likely to be much higher if you are targeting other hashtag users. These stats are skewed by those that abuse the system by using too many hashtags at once. which are far less retweetable.
  • Photos average a 35% boost in Retweets,
  • Videos get a 28% boost,
  • Quotes get a 19% boost in Retweets,
  • Including a number receives a 17% bump in Retweets

It follows that a hashtags used with a photos,videos, quotes and numbers are subject to a large boost. Remember that marketers and bloggers are more likely to use hashtags so if you are targeting these markets then the increase in effectiveness will be higher.

Use hashtags for retweets stats

For Communication and Sharing

So far I have talked of the automatic features of hashtags; what happens just by you using them in your messages.  The benefits extend further than this when you use  social networks for their real purpose of social networking. Communicating with, and not talking at, fellow members is vital to building trust and increase your influence. Hashtags allow you to communicate further than your profile or pages, friends timelines and groups you belong to.

Hashtag search results provide a stage for communicating with a larger audience. Find others with the same interests, plus good content, and add them to your friends. Comment, share, retweet their messages.  Use the same hashtag yourself and others may do the same for you. Get to know more people and let them see your valuable content.

As well as interacting with people in normal hashtag search lists, you can also join in Hashtag Chats. This needs more explanation so I’ll talk about this further later in this series.

For Research

Find excellent learning and research resources by reading the content from experts in your topics; especially useful if you are new to online communication. Follow them on the network you are using or visit their site and follow them by RSS, email or by using their social media buttons to find them elsewhere.

Use hashtags for other people’s research. Reach out to them to teach and mentor.

Learn more about promoting yourself on the network you are using by copying what social media experts and the more successful members in your field do.

Your Competition

Keep up with your competition and the hashtag popularity trend. Hashtags can now be found on TV ads, billboards, shop signs and as tags on videos and even as tattoos:

Use hashtags for unusual purposes - as a tattoo

What hashtag name would you suggest here? #ArmlessFun perhaps?

Why Use Hashtags on Facebook

  • Facebook’s support of hashtags started in June last year but haven’t, perhaps not surprisingly, gained wide general usage. Most Facebook users don’t have content published elsewhere which they need to promote and they are not interested in promoting themselves. Despite this, hashtag searches are the best way to monitor and join in conversations with the global Facebook community. If you are promoting something or want to get yourself known, I suggest you do use them, particularly if you are involved with a niche that does.
  • For cross-promotion to Twitter and Gplus where hashtags are more important when you use auto-posting tools.

I will give you some tips on using hashtags in Facebook in my next post.

Summary of Results When You Use Hashtags

  1. More targeted Social Media followers
  2. More visitors to blogs or websites.
  3. More sales/clients/customers/affiliates.

Hashtags are an excellent, free marketing method and way of finding contacts to network with.

This is the second post in my series on Hashtags:

Can you think of any more advantages to using Hashtags? Are you more likely to use, or extend your use of, them after reading this?