Social Media posts are a great way to give your business more exposure. While posting is beneficial, tagging and hashtagging can give your posts substantially greater reach. Tags and hashtags are used across all of the most popular social media sites so it important to understand how and why you should use them.
Tags are a tool used to connect a person or business to a post you make. This can not only notify that person or business that you have posted something about them, but it can also directly connect your viewers to who you have tagged. To tag someone, you will type the @ symbol in your post and begin typing the person’s or businesses’ name. Simply select the appropriate person or business from the available list. The complete tag is also known as a handle. If for some reason, the correct choice doesn’t appear when you begin typing, you can type the handle in its entirety.
Hashtags are used to group similar content together making it easier for visitors to find content with a specific topic. When a user clicks or searches a hashtag, all of the content that has used that exact hashtag will be displayed. By using hashtags intelligently, you can put your content and brand in front of a significantly larger audience than if you were to simply post content on your social media pages.
A hashtag begins with the # symbol and is followed by a word or string of words without spaces. For example, #mortgage or #carinsurance would be acceptable hashtags. Most social media sites do not allow special characters in the hashtag. Some do but it is best to avoid them as they are likely used far less than similar hastags without them. Using popular hashtags will be more beneficial than creating your own unique ones. You can research popular industry hashtags and use those to reach the largest target audience.
Best Practices on Popular Social Media Platforms
Most social media sites can make use of both tags and hashtags, but they will be used differently across each platform. You will want to familiarize yourself with how to use each appropriately on the sites you will be using most. This will ensure you are getting the best engagement and your clients, and potential clients, don’t feel as if they are being spammed.
Facebook users will find value in using both tags and hashtags, but you will want to limit their use. Focus on the quality of the message you want to deliver. Engagement is highest on Facebook when only a single hashtag is used in a post but this does not mean that you need to force a hashtag into each of your posts. Save them for when a popular topical hashtag or branded hashtag is appropriate.
Tagging on Facebook has always been important when it comes to increasing reach and exposure. When you tag a person or business, depending on a person’s privacy settings, they will be notified of the post and the post will be visible on their page as well as yours. If this is true, their followers will see your post and your exposure will be substantially greater.
Much like Facebook, LinkedIn users will see best results when using hashtags sparingly rather than excessively. To make best use of hashtags on LinkedIn, you will want to incorporate them in not only your posts, but profile pages and company pages. Somewhere between two and five hashtags would be appropriate for a post or update. When using hashtags in a profile or about us page, you will generally want to include them toward the end of the page, however you can use a few within the body of the page. Tags can be used much like Facebook to connect other individuals or businesses to your post. LinkedIn members will receive a notification when they are tagged unless they have disabled their notifications.
Twitter is a rather unique platform in that you have a very limited number of characters available for each post, called a Tweet. Even so, tags and hashtags are used a great deal on Twitter. Since your messages must be concise, stick to the most popular hashtags. More obscure hashtags or ones that you make up yourself will limit your exposure.
It is important to use tags when possible as well. When tagging people on Twitter, they will get a notification that they were tagged, but your post won’t appear on their feeds. However, if they retweet your message, their followers will be able to see it. If the right industry leaders retweet your message, your Tweet can reach a much larger audience than if only your immediate followers were to see it.
Instagram is one of the few social media platforms where a large number of hashtags are appropriate. A single post can include a dozen or more hashtags. Many people search for hashtags related to their interests and follow new accounts that use similar hashtags. You will still want to use popular and trending hashtags but you will have the freedom to choose a variety of hashtags to reach a larger audience. One tip to make your post seem less cluttered is to separate the hashtags into a comment. This keeps the original message clean and simple while still receiving the benefits of using hashtags.
As with the other social media sites, be sure to tag others when appropriate. Instagram also allows you to tag a location. Because users search by location as well, you should always tag your location in your Instagram posts.