If you’re still baffled that the pound sign is now called a hashtag — it’s okay. Truly, internet speed is exponentially quickening. However, you can get ahead of the curve. Below are a few tips from our marketing experts of why and what to tag on social media.
Simply, a hashtag metastasizes a conversation. A conversation begins around a specific topic indicated in the tag. For example, if you use, #DallasDentist your post will appear in the discussion with others talking about #DallasDentist. For illustration, below are searches for the hashtag on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Secondly, potential patients use hashtags to discover content. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who is searching for a dentist. If it is a restorative treatment they may use #toothache. However, if it is cosmetic, they may search #teethwhitening. Ensure that the tag is directing to similar content in the post or photo. For almost all social media networks sticking to 1 – 2 meaningful tags will generate the most traction.
However, every good absolute has an exception. There has been recent controversy around ‘hashtag loading’. This practice involves adding the maximum amount of hashtags at the end of a post to improve discoverability. For example, if someone searches #love or #smile, your post will appear as a result. This practice is fading away because it interrupts the user experience. Although, it is still effective for Instagram. A few reasons why this practice has not drifted off yet is because (1) people are more comfortable using hashtags on Instagram, (2) text is minimal in the newsfeed, and (3) many still search hashtags.
What to Hashtag
As mentioned before, hashtags are short phrases that summarize the main point and target audience of the social media post. Likewise, there are a few common pitfalls that can happen while choosing a tag. First, do not over complicate it. Writing a hashtag is about simplicity. It is not a place to write an entire phrase. For example, say #FreeExam instead of #FREEexamAtComfortDental. Long hashtags like this one will make it difficult for potential patients to find the tag.
Additionally, you can promote the essence of your brand through a branded hashtag. For example, if your office is promoting a free exam use #DallasExam. Avoid blanketly using a practice tag, for example, #ComfortDental. Yes, if you search this tag, your posts will appear in the search results. Although, this tag is not easily discoverable and will not expose potential patients to your content. If you would like to incorporate your office name, promote a campaign in conjunction with a hashtag. For example, encourage patients to share a selfie with #ComfortExam.
Just like any part of marketing, hashtagging is a scientific art. Although, the main takeaway that will generate more engagement on the posts is to imagine the one word or phrase, to summarize the post. That is your golden hashtag.
Do you have tips for successful hashtagging?