We’ve all seen it on social media, the hashtag epidemic is everywhere. I can often be seen at my local coffee spot or standing in line at the grocery store rolling my eyes as I sift through Instagram looking at selfies tagged with #blessed, #fitspiration, #instacalafabulistic (that one I may have made up) and whatever other white girl tag is #hotrightnow. We get it you’re important, your life is amazing, you want people to know about it and satisfy your insecurities with a tap of the like button. Annoying as some hashtags can be, some can be pretty darn useful!
What is a hashtag
A hashtag by definition is a label or metadata tag that is used to categorise a post on social media so that the audience is able to find it easier. By choosing the correct Hashtag or getting your Hashtag to trend you can increase the traffic that your post gets. Take for instance when I was travelling last year. Long story short, I chucked in my stable job and beach side apartment to go traveling around the US for 6 months.
I had never boarded the hashtag express for fear of looking #basic, however some of the scenery was worth marveling at, so I thought I would give it a go. I was used to an average of 10-15 likes per picture – most of these being my family and close friends (thanks for making me feel loved peeps!) However, when I started using the Hashtags #travel, #wanderlust, #vagabondlife I was averaging about 40-50 likes per post and I must admit I was feeling pretty stinkin’ famous! It wasn’t until I was on my road trip through Colorado that things got #real!
The gimmick of the hashtag
While having a deep and semi-meaningful conversation with a man that can be best described as Gandalf (yes, of the Lord of the Rings, ‘you shall not pass!’ fame) in a hostel in Utah he mentioned a magical town named Nederland, home of the Carousel of Happiness (cue choir of angels). I’m a sucker for a gimmick as much as the next guy and anything off the beaten path so I decided to go. To say the least, Nederland was #instacalafabulistic! The tiny town was covered in snow, most of the buildings brightly coloured and the Carousel of Happiness was so much happier than I ever anticipated. I wanted to share this gem with the world so I did what any twenty-something equipped with an iPhone and buzzing with caffeine fueled excitement would do… I took to Instagram.
Thinking nothing of it, I used my usual hashtags and then what I thought was an obvious choice #Nederland. Apparently, this little town wasn’t quite the hidden gem I had originally thought, within 15 minutes I had in excess of 100 likes. If I was feeling famous before, I had just reached Kardashian status! I had quite clearly picked a trending hashtag which got my photo viewed over 100 times in the space of 15 minutes. Not having anywhere close to this many followers I can directly attribute this traffic and my new found #instafame to the hashtag.
The right hashtag
Choosing the right hashtag can increase the traffic of your posts tenfold. There are now dedicated services allowing you to track the popularity of Hashtags and for you to view trending hashtags. Identifying the correct hashtag for social media business posts is an effective and relatively low cost marketing tool for any business. The key to success is knowing your target market and tailoring your tags to attract your target audience.
In case you were interested:
Experienced and written by Nicole Atkins (Campaign Crusader)
Author: Ronsley Vaz
Ronsley is the founder & chief day dreamer at AMPLIFY. He is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur.
He has a Masters’ degree in Software Engineering and an MBA in Psychology and Leadership. He is known as the creator of We Are Podcast – the first Podcasting Conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the host of The Bond Appetit Podcast and Should I Start a Podcast. He has an audience of over 3 million in 133 countries.