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To Hashtag or Not to Hashtag

Posted by Kathy Winter @kathywinter, Nov 18, 2015

I admit it, I don’t use hashtags a lot in my business and personal social media. According to a recent survey of Twitter and Instagram engagement by Locowise, it seems that hashtag use has little to no effect on general engagement on these platforms. In my experience, a good photo gives more boost than a hashtag.

For contests, chats and special promotions, I think hashtags have their place, such as the recent anti-bullying campaign we ran using #cutthebull and our current holiday safety campaign #beburnaware.

What do you think? Do you include a hashtag in many of your posts? How many hashtags do you use in a single post?

In addition to the stats they report, this article offers a few basic tips for using Twitter and Instagram with or without hashtags. http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/locowise-hashtags-engagement-twitter-instagram/629995

Kathy, I do use hashtags on Twitter as they are a great way to keep track of conversations on a specific topic and to see who is talking on that topic. I almost always include a hashtag if I am including a link to information that I think others in a specific community would want to see/read/engage with. But I would agree with you that on Instagram that it’s all about the photo. Take and post a great photo and it will get engagement. Most of the hashtags I see on Instagram are not real hashtags anyway. They are more of a statement and are becoming almost a language of their own. #toomanypeopletalkinhashtags, #mykidsdefinitelytalkinhashtags 🙂

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@Lisa_Wylde

Kathy, I do use hashtags on Twitter as they are a great way to keep track of conversations on a specific topic and to see who is talking on that topic. I almost always include a hashtag if I am including a link to information that I think others in a specific community would want to see/read/engage with. But I would agree with you that on Instagram that it’s all about the photo. Take and post a great photo and it will get engagement. Most of the hashtags I see on Instagram are not real hashtags anyway. They are more of a statement and are becoming almost a language of their own. #toomanypeopletalkinhashtags, #mykidsdefinitelytalkinhashtags 🙂

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Hi Kathy,
Definitely agree with you and Lisa on this topic. However I also think
there is a value to hashtags if you approach it strategically

http://www.healthworkscollective.com/marie-ennis-oconnor/216511/beyond-buzz-guide-analyzing-heathcare-hashtags

*Connect With Me*

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I also think the strategic use of hashtags is good and we do use them both in Twitter and on Instagram. I think they’re valuable when trying to guide an audience toward content they might not otherwise see.

I also think that can be overused, and think we’re guilty of the same sometimes. But I am less concerned about that than other issues related to folks using social media — like not strategically thinking through how to best format the content for social media, find appropriate visuals, etc. I’d rather folks overuse hashtags than putting social media on the backburner of priorities or repurpose content without thinking through how the channel and audience may be different than other channels.

And personally, I follow certain hashtags, like #hcsm and #mcsm to see things that I otherwise may not, because I’m not following the entire community that uses these hashtags. So I definitely think there’s value.

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What about Facebook? I see them being used there more and more, but I’ve noticed a correlation between low engagement and hashtag use in our posts, so I rarely use them. The exceptions are awareness month/day posts, which seem to do fairly well, and our weekly #TeamTuesday feature with an employee photo.

While I haven’t done any formal measurements, they don’t seem to have a major impact on engagement when we use them on Twitter and Instagram. Most of the people who interact with our tweets are existing followers; occasionally we’ll get some interaction and new followers as a result of a tweet, and I think the hashtags help with that. I always include them on Instagram; I use them maybe 50% of the time on Twitter. But I have to admit it’s more a feeling of obligation because of the nature of the platforms, than because I’ve noticed much success.

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Hashtags on FB? I was under the impression they didn’t work there, though I know FB had considered employing them at one point.

Liked by Vicki Bencken

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@MeganRowe

What about Facebook? I see them being used there more and more, but I’ve noticed a correlation between low engagement and hashtag use in our posts, so I rarely use them. The exceptions are awareness month/day posts, which seem to do fairly well, and our weekly #TeamTuesday feature with an employee photo.

While I haven’t done any formal measurements, they don’t seem to have a major impact on engagement when we use them on Twitter and Instagram. Most of the people who interact with our tweets are existing followers; occasionally we’ll get some interaction and new followers as a result of a tweet, and I think the hashtags help with that. I always include them on Instagram; I use them maybe 50% of the time on Twitter. But I have to admit it’s more a feeling of obligation because of the nature of the platforms, than because I’ve noticed much success.

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We don’t use them consistently or frequently on Facebook, but we do use them. If it’s a hot topic that’s trending and people are following a hashtag, we’ll sometimes use it. For the most part, we don’t use them and I also don’t find them terrible effective.

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FB has them, but they don’t stay aggregated for very long…or at least that’s my experience.

Liked by Bob West

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Hashtags are integral on Instagram. Twitter, meh (unless for contests or live tweeting an event, as mentioned above). But again, they are essential to finding photos beyond your network on IG.

Liked by Vicki Bencken

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@westr

Hashtags on FB? I was under the impression they didn’t work there, though I know FB had considered employing them at one point.

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They work, they’re just not as useful or widely used. But try searching for something like #fluvaccine, as an example. Or anything related to the events in Paris. They can be useful when something health related is trending, if your organization has a research or knowledge base around that topic.

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