#tbt, #instagood, #totes are all part of our everyday vernacular, and we have social media to thank! Hashtags are a pervasive tool for users to start, plug into, or track a conversation on social media. Not all hashtags were created equal, however. The function of a hashtag can vary depending on where it appears—Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook. In this post, we break down the differences between each site, and show you how to best put your hashtags to use.
Twitter (well, Chris Messina) invented the hashtag, so it’s no wonder that they’re ubiquitous on the micro-blogging platform. From trending hashtags that everyone’s using to one-off hashtags that are limited to a certain campaign, brands have plenty of opportunity to contribute to pertinent conversations.
Soldsie Tip: Create a balance between new hashtags, like the one Nesquik is using for its Game Day Sweepstakes, and popular hashtags. Too many of either can make your brand seem disconnected or “spammy,” respectively.
The first thing you should know about Pinterest hashtags is that they’re only clickable in the pin description (no need to put them in board names or the profile section).
Secondly, you’ll notice that when you input a hashtag in the search box, the results that turn up will include the phrase in usernames and images, not just the description. This means that if your brand is using a generic hashtag, your pins will be lost in the deluge.
Etsy solves this problem by asking a guest pinner to curate a #BrooklynBride collection. Followers can easily find and share picturesque wedding ideas, as well as other pins that fit into a certain aesthetic:
Soldsie Tip: Create a unique hashtag for your brand so that followers can access your content easily. This is especially useful for new campaigns, product launches, and contests.
Instagram is a platform that rewards aesthetics and brevity. Since the image is the star of the show, your captions should be succinct: either informative, funny, or appropriate. Because of that, hashtags can be a purely functional, organizational tool, or they can be a tongue-in-cheek extension of the caption itself.
Because Instagram is so of-the-moment, hashtags can create communities around huge events (think #WorldCup or #Superbowl2014). When brands participate, they reach a wide and enthusiastic audience.
Warby Parker gets it right with #warbysummer. It groups posts together by season, but it also promotes the brand and invites users to contribute by inspiring user-generated content: how would they style their frames? In other words, it’s a conversation-starter.
Soldsie Tip: Keep your Instagram hashtags short and sweet, and switch them out for specific marketing drives that invite creative responses.
Hashtags on Facebook are nowhere near as popular as they are on other social media networks, but the advantage to that is attention—anyone searching a hashtag will have to rifle through a lot fewer posts before they find yours.
Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke supports the eponymous campaign, which encourages fans to find bottles marked with their names. Posting the content to Facebook helps gain major traction—this post has over 2,000 likes and 20 shares two hours after posting:
Soldsie Tip: While Facebook may not be the best place to get a hashtag started, it is one of the best ways to get exposure. Post to your Facebook page from your Twitter and Instagram accounts to import your hashtags.
What’s your approach to using hashtags? Let us know in the comments!