Mistakes Businesses Make When Using Hashtags

Terrell Smith / July 3, 2019

A name not widely known among the Tweeters, Instagramers, Facebookers, and Snapchatters of the world but probably should be, is Chris Messina. If you’re currently racking your brain trying to figure out who this is, allow us to save you the headache. He didn’t invent one of the major social media platforms, and he’s not acting in one of your favorite binge-worthy shows or climbing the Billboard charts. Chris Messina has actually been credited as the inventor of hashtags. He came up with the concept because he wanted there to be a way social media users (specifically on Twitter at the time) could type a word or expression into a search box, and engage with other users on specific topics. It’s from that initial idea that millions of people, companies, and brands came to use hashtags as a way to build a following, increase in popularity, and drum up business.

Given the profitability of hashtags these days, it’s fair to say an overwhelming majority of social media users are using hashtags on everything they post. Unfortunately, not everyone using hashtags is using them in a way that yields the desired successful results. And unless you’re Ellen DeGeneres or Starbucks, correctly using hashtags matters if you’re trying to grow your social influence. Below are five mistakes businesses commonly make when they use hashtags.

5. Using Hashtags Only on Twitter

Hashtags may have originated on Twitter, but they certainly haven’t stayed there. Using hashtags on other social media platforms is a great way to increase your exposure, and eventually your influence. Instagram, for example, is a platform that thrives on the use of hashtags. Even with Instagram’s ever-evolving algorithm, hashtags are still important for users to take advantage of in trying to grow their social presence.

4. Using Unrelated Hashtags to Gain Attention

If you’re attempting to gain new followers to rally behind your cause or buy your products, one of the worst things you can do is associate unrelated hashtags with the content you post. As a matter of fact, using unrelated hashtags will actually cause potential new followers to write you off as an untrustworthy brand. So if you’re a business that sells wool socks, it’s not wise to use the hashtags #OprahWInfrey or #SpiderMan with each of your posts about socks if the two hashtags aren’t exactly associated with your business or what you’re promoting. It’s rare that you’ll gain anything off the back of popular user profiles in this way.

3. Using too Many Hashtags

According to the social community and moderation experts at Agorapulse, using hashtags can increase a person’s Instagram likes by roughly 70%. While that clearly spells out the necessity to use hashtags with posts, you as a user have to beware of using too many hashtags. Too many hashtags on a post will be perceived for all intent and purposes as spam. And there’s nothing quite more crushing for a company’s social media presence than being classified as spam.

Now as far as what classifies as too many hashtags, that seems to be debatable among social media experts. However, according to professionals over at Social Fresh, seven hashtags generate the most engagement on an Instagram post. Now you can certainly use less than seven and generate a lot of social interaction provided the content you’re releasing is impactful.

2. Using Hashtags that Are too Unique

First, allow us to say how important and commendable it is for you to use unique hashtags when you post on social media. Only using the most popular hashtags (i.e. #tbt, #photooftheday, #sale) can get your post buried among millions of other posts that also use the same hashtags. So again, it’s important to stand out.

With that said, you don’t want a hashtag that is so unique that no one is really searching for it when they look for new content to view and new profiles to follow. Going back to the example of a wool sock company, the hashtag #WoolSocksAretheBestSocksEver is definitely a standout hashtag. But realistically, how many people are going to search for that phrase in a given day? Or even a given year?

1. Using Hashtags without Checking Their Effectiveness

As easy as it is to post something on one of your social media platforms and just forget about it, you truly do yourself a disservice by not checking the effectiveness of the hashtags you use on the posts. If your target audience uses Instagram and you have a business profile on Instagram, you have the option of looking at insights and seeing the impressions your posts are making on the platform. This includes being able to view the effectiveness of your hashtags. Essentially, you can get an idea of whether or not your hashtags are driving enough attention to your profile.

Be Effective and Scale

Since social media is becoming more complex, and yet profitable by the day, you owe it to your company to take advantage of the knowledge and tools available to understand the ins and outs of the various platforms. In this day and age, social media is arguably the quickest way to widen your influence and grow your business. And if you realize this to be true, but don’t have the time or personnel to dedicate to your social media presence, make sure you contact us. We’d love to work with you and grow your business.

Skip to content