Hashtags are now universal, they are recognized by all the major social networks and are a part of our cultural vernacular that has established itself as more than a fad. You see them everywhere and that is a good indication that they are working for those who are using them.
What makes Hashtags Valuable?
A hashtag connects you to people you don’t follow and who don’t follow you, whether a topic or event that dominates the days news like: #superbowl or a more obscure topic like #pollenation, or even something cheesy like #whyIlovecheese will make an informal bond between posts that share the hashtag, and consequently the people/brands that created the posts. When the Hashatag is clicked on, new people/brands are discovered that share a common interest in most cases.
How Much do Hashtags increase engagement for a brand?
Research done by Piqora shows that there is a sweet spot for hashtag use. There is a limit, where too much hashtag use is perceived as spammy.
This chart from Piqora illustrates their findings on Instagram hashtag use, it clearly shows increased engagement with increasing use of hashtags to a point. After which the effectiveness drops off because it becomes a spammy message. A rule of thumb I like to use is:
Work Hashtags into the normal text of your message, if it reads like a sentence the effectiveness will be magnified.
For Example: Introducing the #Patriots #buffalo #wing #party package, get together for the #game and bring the #heat with 100 wings.
That way it reads like a sentence instead of: #patriots #buffalo #wings #game #heat #party
Be Smart About How you Use Hashtags
Like everything else you do for your brand, consider the end user. What are they interested in seeing, what is trending right now, are there current events that I can relate to my brand?
Have any interesting Hashtag stories to share with me?