Hashtags can be a great tool for brands if they are used correctly. Hashtags are generally used to categorize posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – but are sometimes used on other social networks as well. If you’re looking to see what others thought about the How I Met Your Mother finale or the recent Seattle Sounders game, you could search for #HIMYMFinale or #Sounders. The social site will then automatically curate and display a feed of other messages also incorporating the same hashtag.
While hashtags are great, we can all agree that users who use too many hashtags on a social networking site are much more likely to be “unfriended” than those who don’t. This is true for brands as well – users are less likely to follow or engage with brands that overuse hashtags. The following chart created by Statista, shows how hashtags affect a brand’s engagement on Facebook.
Hashtags work for brands when they are relevant, clever and are part of a promotion. For example, in 2012, Dominos used the hashtag #letsdolunch in a promotional campaign. The more users that tweeted with that hashtag, the more the price of peperoni pizza went down.
This research doesn’t mean that your brand should stop using hashtags—just use them intentionally and creatively. Tweets with hashtags do receive twice the amount of engagement as those without, so it is an important element to include. A study found that 71 percent of people on social media use hashtags, 43 percent of hashtags users think they’re useful and 34 percent use them to follow categories and brands of personal interest.
If you’re still curious about how hashtags can help your business, check out our post and infographic on hashtag etiquette.