What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is essentially a category. Any (public) post with a specific hashtag included will appear in a feed with other posts. Anyone who clicks on that hashtag can see all the posts listed. The most popular posts will usually show at the top, with ‘live’ posts showing below or in a separate feed.
What is a trend?
A trend is a topic or hashtag that lots of people are sharing content about. On Twitter, a hashtag must be shared 1200 times in a short period of time to ‘trend’. A list of current trends can be seen on the left of your screen if you are on a desktop, or by clicking the search bar on mobile.
Jumping on trending hashtags is a great way for new people to find your brand. Here are five reasons why:
- It is a free way of showing your content to accounts who don’t follow you
- It adds variety to your timeline
- It shows you are reactive and current
- You can use it as an excuse to re-share old content
- You can use it to drive new content and show your expertise
Before you start
It is, however, important to be discerning when choosing which hashtags you use. Obviously, this depends on your industry, but more importantly your brand. Sadly, the power of social media isn’t always recognised and some brands see it as an easy environment to take shortcuts. Actually, in many cases, social media is the first place people check to see your brands credibility, if you have a strong following and are sharing high-quality consistent content you’re ok, if you are struggling for engagement and your latest tweet is a little cringe-worthy, many potential clients or customers will turn away.
Therefore, it is important not to jump on a hashtag jut to get likes. Before you use the hashtag, ask yourself the following questions:
- Imagine your core customer, would they use this hashtag?
- Would the topic you are about to tweet be an acceptable blog post?
- Are your demographic using this hashtag?
Once you have answered these questions it’s important to get the angle right. A good example is #InternationalTeaDay which falls on the 15th December every year. (Get it in your diary for next year)! I manage social media for a tailor-made travel company so I shared content about a unique tea ceremony you can experience in Kyoto, Japan.
Conde Nast Traveler either had this article pre-planned for the occasion or they re-used some relevant content on their website:
If you are a recruitment company, you could take a photograph of a cup of tea next to an iPad with your job listing web page open, with the text ‘Happy #InternationalTeaDay, take fifteen minutes out of your day to apply for your dream job.’ then link to your website.
If your brand is actually a person, you could try a point of view photograph of a desk with a cup of tea on it saying ‘All good plans start with a cup of tea… #InternationalTeaDay’.