What’s a #Hashtag Again and What Does Hashtag Mean Anyway?

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According to Merriam-Weber, a hashtag is:

a word or phrase preceded by the symbol # that classifies or categorizes the accompanying text (such as a tweet).

Hashtags can be a word of a phrases and are preceded by the # symbol. Some examples are: #toastmasters #communication #publicspeakingskills #whereleadersaremade #toastmastersclub.

Hashtags help to categorize content and track topics on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube.

Hashtags make your posts searchable. People use hashtags to search for content with a specific theme. Its as if you are in a giant library, asking the librarian “I’m looking for this topic” and receiving a pile of books on it. For example, if you are on Twitter, and you type #Toastmasters into the search bar, many Toastmaster’s related tweets will appear.

If you want your posts to be found, adding one or hashtags will help you find your audience, and your audience find you.

Harness Your Hashtags

Adding hashtags to your social posts will help gain engagement, but be careful not to overdo them. You can weigh down your content if you go overboard, thus working against you by decreasing engagement.

Having one to two hashtags is a good way to increase the chances of new followers finding you.

If you have a weekly campaign, such as posting a motivational quote every Monday, or a speaking tip every Tuesday, you could use popular community hashtags such as #MondayMotivation or #Tuesdaytips.

Piggyback on event-based hashtags. For example, during wedding season, post wedding speech tips and use wedding related hashtags. Throughout entertainment awards season, post a tip about accepting an award and add the relevant hashtags (Oscars, academy awards, etc.). Others could include how to toast a loved one on Valentine’s day, at an anniversary or engagement party, on New Years Eve, and other seasonal events, with the holiday hashtag.

Make sure to keep your hashtags relevant to your copy.

How many hashtags can you use?

  • Facebook: their hashtag limit is high; but more isn’t better. You want your copy to shine. Two to four may work but its best to experiment and see what works for your audience.
  • Instagram: According to Instagram’s @creators account, recommended use is between three to five hashtags.
  • LinkedIn: There is no official limit, however like Facebook, more isn’t always better. Best to experiment and see what works for you and your audience.
  • Pinterest: Best practice is between two to eight hashtags
  • TikTok: There is no limit, but you only have 100 characters in which to fit in your caption and hashtags.
  • Twitter: Twitter says two is a good number. Use too many and engagement starts to drop off.
  • YouTube: According to their hashtag use policies, they recommend not adding too many. The more you add, “the less relevant they become for viewers who are searching. Over-tagging may result in the removal of your video from your uploads or from search.”

To become a hashtag pro, do a bunch of hashtag searches and see what comes up. Take one or two of the many free webinars available on the internet. Read free online resources. Follow the Brands you believe are doing it well and study how they are using hashtags to generate greater engagement. Learn from them.

Engagement increases reach. Its not enough to add hashtags to your content. Hashtags will help audiences find you, but to truly increase engagement, follow other Toastmasters’ clubs and thought leaders. Share relevant posts or retweet their Tweets. Add a comment when you reshare or retweet.

Establishing or enhancing a social media presence doesn’t happen by accident. A combination of consistent content and engagement strategies such as using hashtags is key to attracting followers.

If you want your content to be found, adding one or two hashtags will help you find your audience, and your audience find you.

Created by Nancy Movrin DTM Public Relations Manager 2021 – 2022