When you post links to blogs, articles, or other pieces of content to your social media accounts, are you using hashtags? Before we get into whether or not you’re doing this, let’s talk about why they’re essential on your posts.
- Facebook: When a Facebook post has between one and two hashtags, they’ll receive up to 177 more interactions in comparison to one with between three and five tags according to SproutSocial.
- Instagram: Posting on Instagram with hashtags helps you receive up to 13% more engagement in comparison to posts without them according to SocialBakers.
- LinkedIn: according to an experiment conducted by agora pulse, LinkedIn posts with at least one hashtag receive an average of 29.59% higher views or impressions.
- Twitter: Using hashtags on Twitter extends its lifespan. Otherwise, the post will only last approximately fifteen minutes, according to Rebecca Coleman.
How Do I Use Hashtags?
I didn’t realize the value of hashtags until about a year ago. Before that, I would tag things according to their topic. For example, if I were reposting an article written by a colleague about artificial intelligence and how it works in agriculture, I would use hashtags like #AI, #artificialintelligence, and #agriculture. However, those hashtags don’t lead to the writer’s marketing. They do a good job tagging the topic, but they do nothing for the writer’s digital marketing strategy.
On the majority of my posts, you’ll see the following hashtags:
I tag them in that way because I write a significant amount about freelance writing. I decided to add #makingithappen because I want to help other freelance writers “make it happen,” and boost their careers in a positive direction. The last hashtag is specifically about the publication I edit, Working Freelance Writer. That last one is the most critical of the three. I’ll change up the first two, but the last I’ll keep the same.
What Stories Are Your Hashtags Telling?
The hashtag #workingfreelancewriter is essential because of the story it’s telling. No matter what social media channel people are using, they can click on it and see content about how to manage their freelance writing business. On LinkedIn, for example, users can follow the page of content without having to connect with my profile.
You can do the same thing when developing a digital marketing strategy for your content. What story are you trying to tell? Think about the content you’re writing and the message you’re sending to your readers. Can you think of a hashtag that stands out from the rest? Can they click on it and, when they do, find that the majority of the content belongs to you? If so, that’s an optimal one to use for directing traffic to more of your work.
Why Do Hashtags Have a Bad Rep?
I don’t think hashtags have a bad reputation, per se. Some believe they’re no longer relevant. Others think marketers and writers aren’t using them correctly. I see some posts with dozens of hashtags and think they’re funny.
I see others where users don’t put any spaces between them, so it’s one giant word with a bunch of #s in there. I’m not sure what’s going on with those posts. I think a lot of those posts are using the “hashtag” as a form of slang instead of a way to drive traffic to their content.
Strategize and Optimize
Your best bet is to focus on what will work for your posting goals. Develop a strategy that will help lead readers to your work, keep your posts active, and extend their shelf life. Hootsuite has an excellent article about how to use hashtags effectively here. You can find another one about the right way to use hashtags on Inc.com here.
Optimizing your hashtags will eventually become habitual. When your readers see your posts, they’ll begin reposting using the same hashtags eventually. In doing so, that will extend your reach even further.
Creating a hashtag strategy is an excellent way of building a digital marketing plan for your freelance writing business. Developing pages of content that are optimized for these hashtags help readers find, share, and follow your work. Keep your hashtags consistent on each of your social networks so, no matter where users are following you, they can see your content when clicking on the tags you’re using.