#Hashtags. You’ve undoubtedly seen them on every one of your social media feeds, but what exactly are they? A hashtag is a pound symbol followed by a word or phrase originating on Twitter as a suggestion from Twitter user @chrismessina back in 2007. Since then, their use has taken off, and hashtags can now be found across all social media platforms. Hashtags act as a tool to group social media content together and ease the search process for users.
Hashtags are completely customizable and can be personalized for a particular event or for general use at your clinic (e.g., #abcveterinaryadoptionweek). They can also be generic (e.g., #veterinarian, #pets, #kittens, etc.). Generic hashtags are trendy and tend to have millions of pieces of content grouped in them. When considering their use, this can be both a good and a bad thing. Using a generic hashtag has the possibility of placing your content in front of a vast and diverse audience. Still, it can also very easily be overwhelmed by the massive amounts of competing content.
Utilizing hashtags is a great way to grow your reach and get your content in front of new eyes. It’s also a way to show support for social causes you align with and connect with like-minded users. For example, if you are a clinic located in Seattle, Washington that is passionate about local pet adoptions, adding #petadoptionseattle will group your content with similar content and increase followers from the Seattle area who are interested in pet adoption.
Why are hashtags important? They lead to more engagement.
- Posts with at least one hashtag get 29% more interactions (for profiles with 1,000 or fewer followers).
- Posts with 11+ hashtags have the highest interactions with 79.5% (for profiles with 1,000 or fewer followers).
- Longer hashtags that have between 21 and 24 characters outperform shorter ones.
- 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded hashtags.
Here are a few tips to help you step up your hashtag game:
- Test, test, test! As with all things social media, algorithms are constantly changing, so what generates a lot of engagement now may not work as effectively in the future. Hashtags are also not one size fits all. This is a great area of social media marketing to get creative with and try new things! Spend some time testing out different amounts of hashtags (i.e., for a week, try out eight hashtags per post, and then the next week, try 20). During these trial runs, note your engagement levels and see what works best for your content and your audience. By the way, if you’re on our Content Plan, then you have WhiskerCloud’s top-notch social media team constantly utilizing new techniques and strategies to get the most out of your content!
- Create your own unique hashtag! As we talked about earlier, you have the ability to create your very own hashtag. This will not only allow you to group your content together as you see fit, but it is a great way to generate engagement. Try creating a hashtag for your clinic’s feline patients (e.g., #abcclinicskittens), then share the hashtag with your clients on your social media feeds and in the office and encourage them to post using the hashtag. When they post a picture of their furry friend using your hashtag, it will automatically group all of the posts together. Next thing you know, you have a gallery of kitten photos to show off on your website or in your clinic!
- Use hashtags that are relevant to your area or niche. Just like WhiskerCloud does with your website, highlighting the things that make your practice unique will help boost your clinic’s reach and put your content in front of the people who are looking for your particular services. A post with the hashtag #veterinarian will likely be buried by large amounts of content, as that hashtag is very broad and has over 1.3 million posts on Instagram alone! However, if you provide a service like veterinary acupuncture and your post includes the hashtag #petacupuncture (a grouping with just over 5,000 posts), you are more likely to generate engagement as the competition is not nearly as massive. Be sure to include hashtags that feature your city, town, and state to ensure that people searching for posts from their area will find your posts.
Speaking of Instagram, READ MORE about Instagram Hacks That You Should Be Using Right Now.
As with anything social media-related, the world of hashtags is ever-changing. Are you looking to have someone stay on top of the curve for you? Content Plan customers of WhiskerCloud have access to an incredible social media team working hard to stay on top of social media marketing trends and algorithm changes to get the most out of each of your posts.