Hashtags can be a fun way to have your posts seen by a larger audience on social media platforms, but at the same time you can easily get carried away using them. Hashtags allow social media users to discover new content and accounts to follow, allowing your accounts to gain more followers, garner new likes, and increase overall engagement. Simply Measured reports that posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement on Instagram.

Have you found ways to interact with your target audience with this marketing technique? Here are some top tips and tricks to try with hashtags.

1. Create a list of top hashtags relevant to you. Take time to research competitors, industry influencers and related posts to see what they are using. Hashtags can change very quickly when it comes to what’s trending, so it is important to stay on top of this. There are an assortment of apps that can help you to find the popular hashtags matched to your industry, such as Hastap, RiteTag or Instagram’s own search function.

2. Keep your posts clear. Don’t overload Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter posts with hashtags — Instagram allows you a bit more freedom. Avoid making your #post #look #like #this, as it makes the message hard to follow and can decrease engagement levels. Keep hashtags simple, short and to the point to avoid confusion and make them easy to utilize and follow.

3. Be specific. Using niche or specific hashtags will help you to dive deeper into your specific target market. The more targeted, the greater chance of obtaining new followers that are of high quality and value to your brand.

4. Avoid hashtags soliciting likes or follows. Utilizing #followme, #tagsforlikes, #follow4follow, or similar hashtags are highly targeted, but only to bots, spammers and users who would not be meaningful followers to your brand.

5. Create your own hashtag! Do your research before attaching a hashtag to your business and brand. While you may think the hashtag is a great match, you want to ensure that others are not utilizing it with a different meaning than you are looking to be associated with. Consider both your product and the culture of your company in creating these hashtags, such as Herschel Supply has done with its two branded hashtags #HerschelSupply and #WellTravelled.

Hashtags have great power and can create a community or movement around a topic. Do you remember the #IceBucketChallenge that went wild in 2014? This resulted in a $47 average donation to the ALS Association; over $115 million was raised in just six weeks. This displays the power of the hashtag, and why is should not be discounted when it comes to your social media presence. It has been found that tweets containing hashtags are 55% more likely to be retweeted than tweets that don’t.

Are hashtags still beyond your grasp or would you like some ideas of what to utilize? Let us know and we will help support your online marketing in any way that we can.