To tag or not to tag?
The humble hashtag – or octothorpe – first appeared in social media over ten years ago. Today, if you want to be found by your customers among the other 25 quintillion bytes of data that are generated every day, then you really need to tag your content.
But how many tags are too many? For a start, it depends which platform you’re using, as each will have its own guidelines for tagging, and engagement levels will vary. So let’s take a look at what works for each platform.
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is currently the top marketing platform among B2B companies, with 95% of its 500 million members using it to promote their business. However, as tagging is a relatively new feature on LinkedIn, it’s best not to overdo it – the general recommendation is three or four hashtags per post.
Facebook: Meanwhile, Facebook is one of the most popular content sharing platforms for SMEs, because it has been adopted by the most diverse potential customer base in terms of varying demographics such as age, interests, occupation, region etc. However, it’s important not go overboard with your tags on Facebook. Try to limit your post to one or two hashtags if possible, and no more than five or six. There are other effective ways you can get your post noticed and in our next blogpost, we’ll show you how.
Instagram: Known for its visual content, Instagram is a great platform if you’re targeting creative individuals. It’s particularly effective for local enterprises and sole traders such as photographers, cake makers, or in fact anyone in the food industry. But it’s also a successful part of the marketing mix for global brands such as Lego and Vans. If you’re a fan of hashtags, then Instagram is the place for your business as you can use up to 30 in each post. However, using this number of hashtags could clutter your content dilute the original message. From a visual perspective, many people split up their hashtags, so the original post doesn’t appear as ‘spammy’. However, as one Instagram expert points out, “If you insist on using uber-popular hashtags, you MUST post them in your post caption. If you wait even a second to post them in a comment, they’re pretty much worthless, as your post will be buried in that hashtag feed the instant you add it. If you post hashtags in several comments, post the more popular ones first. Post hashtag comments in the order of how fast the hashtag feeds move!” To save you time in future, a great tip is to save 30 of your most relevant hashtags online – be it in your notes app or Google doc – ready to paste next time you have something interesting to post. You can always add or delete tags as necessary as you go.
Online articles: Personal blogpages or online publications are of course controlled by the individual author or publisher, so there are no set rules governing the use of hashtags. So just like Instagram, this is where we tend to add the highest number of tags (see bottom of article!) to ensure we reach as wide an audience as possible with each post. So if you’re feeling creative with your next blogpost, then tag away! Top tip: Using a divider tends to help add distance to ensure the hashtags don’t detract from the body of the article.
Meanwhile, Pinterest allows you to use a variety of hashtags, but no more than 20 on each pin. And with YouTube, there is also scope for multiple tags, although the platform warns that the more you add, the less relevant they become in a search, and that if you add more than the maximum of 15, all tags associated with that content will be ignored.
Twitter: Last but not least, Twitter is home to the very first hashtag, which appeared in August 2007, and is a great place for sharing content. A decade later, the platform expanded its maximum character count from 140 to 280, and so it’s tempting to add in a load more hashtags than you actually need. Nevertheless, the rule of thumb on Twitter is to stick to three of four of the most relevant tags so ensure your post doesn’t look cluttered.
Hopefully the above guidelines will help you make your content more relevant, although tagging is only the first step in increasing engagement and interaction with other users. In our next post, we show you what else you can do in order to get your post noticed.
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