For years now, hashtags have been a common feature on social media, adorning posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. When used correctly, they are an excellent tool for expanding your reach and increasing your engagement, even in medical device social media marketing.
We’re going to look at what hashtags can help you to achieve and how to make the most of them.
What do social media hashtags do?
Despite how they are sometimes used, hashtags do actually serve a purpose. People using social media platforms can search and follow hashtags, meaning that they will see only posts with that hashtag. They may be simply for entertainment, for education or to keep up with news. For whatever reason, hashtags help people to see the posts they want to see.
Hashtags also act as an indicator on what the content of the post is about, which can help when it comes to beating the pesky social media algorithms. On Instagram, users are able to visit a discovery page where they are shown posts that may interest them. If Instagram knows that a user likes to see posts about a certain topic, having those contextual hashtags may help your posts to appear here.
Beyond expanding your reach though, hashtags can be useful for developing trends or running competitions. They can be a useful filtering tool, so when you ask users to get involved and post in some way to do with your company, asking them to use a unique hashtag will allow you to see all the relevant posts at once.
Social media hashtag best practices
We have delved into the world of social media best practices before, but this time we wanted to focus particularly on hashtags. Whilst there isn’t really a right or wrong way to use hashtags, there are ways to get the most out of them to help you achieve your social media goals.
1. Mix high volume and low volume hashtags
When it comes to choosing the hashtags you use, it’s not just about choosing the ones you think sound the best or describe the post. Believe it or not, there is data involved in which hashtags you should choose.
When you search for a hashtag, you can see how popular it is based on how many posts it has. Similarly, you can use a tool such as BuzzSumo to do your research. The instinct may be to go for all the high volume hashtags, but as with choosing your keywords for SEO, a mixture of high and low volume is actually the better method.
This is because, although fewer people search for the less popular hashtags, you are more likely to appear and be seen by those people who do. Conversely, although you may potentially be seen by more people when using a more popular hashtag, there is more competition, so your post stands less chance of being seen. Using a mixture of both is a way to cover both bases.
2. Don't overdo it
Although it may be tempting to use as many hashtags as possible on a post to increase your reach, this may not be the best idea. Not only does it look spammy to the people viewing the post, giving them a bad impression of your company, but it is extremely time-consuming.
Instead, we recommend using a maximum of 3 on platforms like LinkedIn, but more on visual platforms like Instagram. 1 of the hashtags you use should be a filter, for instance your company or product name. That way, if people want to see posts only about your company or product, they can use the hashtag as a filter.
3. Make sure they are relevant
There is little benefit to using hashtags that aren’t closely related to the contents of the post. Although other hashtags may have more followers, if your content isn't relevant to them, not only will it be annoying, giving them a bad impression of your company, but they’re just not your customers and they’re not going to convert. In that way, it’s completely pointless.
Instead, it is better to focus on finding hashtags that are relevant to your company and that your potential customers may be searching for.
4. Don’t use punctuation
Hashtags obviously start with the hashtag symbol, but they can’t contain any other punctuation or symbols. This can be annoying as it sometimes means that the phrase appears incorrectly, for instance something like ‘We’re here!’ would have to appear as #WereHere. Punctuation breaks up the hashtag, so only the part of it before the punctuation would actually count.
Try and find a way around it by editing the phrase or simply choosing other hashtags, or you could simply post it and allow people’s mind to fill in the blanks.
5. Keep it short
Long hashtags are distracting and unlikely to have many searchers. You may be tempted to hashtag your tagline as a reminder of your messaging, or something else along those lines, but think about it, what is the point? If it is not a hashtag that already has a following or you are using to develop a trend or run a competition, it is not going to be seen by anybody, so its not really doing anything for you.
Short, snappy hashtags that people are actually searching for are the way to go.
We hope this mini guide has helped you to understand why companies use hashtags and how you can start to utilise them for yourselves. If you have any other questions that we can help you with, please don’t hesitate to let us know!
About Podymos Podymos is a dedicated medical device marketing agency. We are passionate about sharing relevant knowledge to expand our clients’ capabilities. If you would like to find out more about what we do, you can visit our services page, or get in contact with us.
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