As you work on building your personal brand, one way to get noticed by more people is by using hashtags on your social media posts. Hashtags now work on almost all the major social platforms and can be a relatively quick way to get your content or your brand to stand out in a crowded online world.
If hashtags are new to you, then simply think of them as a system to quickly and easily categorize things like topics, events or brands.
Placing a hashtag (the # sign) in front of a word or phrase places that word/phrase in a category that becomes “searchable” on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, and Tumblr.
The hashtag becomes a “clickable” word in the post (except on Pinterest Pin descriptions), so users can quickly find more information on that topic whenever they click on the hashtag.
For example, a few (topical) hashtags I use regularly are:
I’ll use these hashtags on my Facebook posts, Tweets, and Instagram updates. You can capitalize the first letter of each word to make the hashtag easier to read; but do not put spaces between the hashtag or words.
So now that you know the basics of hashtags, here are a few ways to incorporate them into your personal branding:
1. Develop a list of your “go-to” hashtags
What topics do you write about, share tips on, and align with your personal brand? Start with at least 5-10 that you want to use on a regular basis. When people are searching for resources on those topics, you want your brand or content to show up.
You won’t necessarily use all of your go-to hashtags in one post, especially on Twitter, Facebook or G+. This is a revolving list to choose from based on the topic or occasion.
On Instagram where you use more hashtags per post, you may find it helpful to save your go-to hashtags in a Note App on your phone so you can quickly copy and paste them into your posts.
Best practices on social sites differ, but the number of hashtags to use per post are generally 2-3 on Twitter and Google+, only 1-2 on Facebook, and on Instagram as many as 10-12 per post.
Note: You can use up to 30 hashtags on an Instagram post, but be careful if you share your Instagram posts to other sites like Facebook, as the hashtags are carried over and become “clickable” there too.
An easy solution is to put the top 1-3 hashtags in the Instagram post caption, and then add a separate comment to your post with the rest of your hashtags.
2. Create unique hashtags for you/your brand
These hashtags are used as a way to make you/your brand stand out, and be readily found through search.
For example, my League Computer Solutions Twitter username is socialmediaLCS, and I use the hashtag #socialmediaLCS on original content shared on social sites. Then I can tell people to type that hashtag into the search bar on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. and they will see even more of my content.
If you’re hosting an event, a webinar, or launching a new product, create a unique hashtag for it. This is a great way to ask people to easily spread the word for you in their social media posts.
An important note when creating a unique hashtag: do some research on the sites themselves and using tools like Websta, Hashtagify, and Twitter’s search feature to find out if a hashtag you plan on using is already being used by someone else or in some other way.
3. Use trending hashtags for more exposure
Pay attention to trending / top hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. The trending topics on Facebook may have hashtags associated with them as well, when you click on a topic.
If you discover that a trending hashtag has some relevance to you/your brand, then you may want to create some posts that include those hashtags.
Note: Pay attention to trending hashtags that relate to current events or news, as hashtag hijacking (especially during disasters or tragedies) can quickly turn people off.
So be very careful, and do some research before jumping on a trending hashtag. You may find it more advantageous to jump on theme-related hashtags that trend on certain days of the week such as #caturday. #ThrowbackThursday, or #MondayMotivation.
Start using hashtags in your personal branding strategy with these tips, and stand out on your social media sites!