Likely one of the most elusive social media features by far is the hashtag. I’m sure you’ve heard about how great these pesky hashtags can be for promoting your event and reaching new audiences. I’m sure you’ve also tried to find ones that encapsulate your event and that potential customers may be using.
The good news is that using hashtags to promote events can be a great marketing tool and isn’t something to be afraid of: it’s all about having a strategy and knowing where to look. You can even create a list of hashtags pertinent to your content and switch it up every so often and add particularly relevant hashtags to make it even easier and simpler.
What Is A Hashtag, Really?
Let’s start with the basics: a hashtag is a word or phrase that is used to tag content on social media. It’s a great tool for categorizing content for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and users to catalog and search.
They essentially help group similar content together and allow viewers to directly search and explore any content tagged with a specific phrase/word. Most popular on Instagram, hashtags are also used on Facebook and Twitter as well. In fact, the first hashtag was used in 2007 on Twitter.
Should I Use Hashtags?
They can be a great marketing tool/strategy for your event. It can help you grow your following, build brand awareness, allow you to join social conversations and support your community, add context to your content, and, most importantly, help your target audience find you.
Using hashtags to promote events could easily be the one thing that sets you apart from the competition or act as a spotlight for your event. Plenty of social media accounts have experienced exponential growth just from implementing the use of hashtags. It’s a proven strategy that can help you grow your audience and help the right people find your account/events.
All that to say; yes, you should be using hashtags. They offer a lot of benefits and (other than a little extra work) no downside. It may seem like a daunting task or difficult skill to learn but it’s not as complicated as it looks and can easily become second nature if practiced enough.
The Rules of Hashtagging
- Keep it short and sweet. Don’t use/create any hashtags that are long and wordy - make it as easy and simple as possible.
- Don’t go overboard. In this case, more isn’t always better and adding 50 hashtags to one post isn’t the best move.
- Relevance is key. Don’t throw on hashtags just for the sake of it - be purposeful about which ones you’re using and make sure they’re relevant to the content you’re sharing.
- Skip the obscure references. Make sure the hashtags you’re using aren’t too obscure that your target audience won’t be searching for them or using them.
- Popularity is important. Stick with hashtags that fall somewhere between massive popularity and none at all.
- Just the words. Your hashtag won’t work if you include spaces, punctuation, or symbols so stay away from those.
Keep it Short and Sweet
Don’t try and cram a long phrase or quote into your hashtag. The goal is to use hashtags to promote your events that your target audience is searching for. You want to use ones that are short and relatively easy to remember. For holidays or funny sayings you can get away with longer hashtags but not on a regular basis.
Don’t Go Overboard
Most social media sites will only allow you to add up to 30 hashtags to each post. However, we recommend limiting yourself to about 10. Just adding any and every hashtag you can think of isn’t a real strategy and probably won’t have the desired effect. You need to be intentional with what you’re adding to your posts.
Relevance is Key
Don’t add hashtags that aren’t relevant to your post. If it isn’t directly linked to your content, don’t use it. It’s important to be intentional with the hashtags you’re using so spend some time thinking about the content you’re producing and looking up hashtags that come to mind. And remember, practice makes perfect. Practicing a new skill isn’t easy on the first, or even fifth try.
Skip the Obscure References
The goal here is to use hashtags to promote your events so focus on things that are popular and searchable. Don’t use some obscure movie reference quote or an inside joke or something that isn’t very obvious. Think like your audience and search what they might be looking for to gain a better idea of what hashtags to add to your post.
Popularity is Important
This part can be a little tricky. You don’t want to use hashtags that are super popular because your post will get lost in the crowd. However, you don’t want to use hashtags that are unpopular because you’re unlikely to get any traction. You have to find the sweet spot right in the middle - somewhere around 1 million posts.
How Do I Find the Right Hashtags?
This is definitely the most difficult and tedious part of the process. You can start by compiling a list of hashtags that are ‘evergreen’ and can be used on tons of different posts for your brand. At the top of that list should be one or two ‘branded hashtags’ which is essentially a hashtag you use to promote your brand. For example, lululemon uses #thesweatlife on many of their posts and stories. The benefit of the branded hashtag is that your audience can use it too to tag content they share about your brand and this could be a great place to find new content by resharing some of those posts.
Instagram itself is a great way to find new hashtags and see what some of your followers are using and searching for. You can easily search hashtags and see how popular they are to determine which ones to use. In addition, you’ll see a ‘related hashtags’ group which can help give you more ideas.
Of course, there’s always google and hashtag generation sites you could turn to as well. If you’re really stumped it could be helpful to look up lists of hashtags relating to whatever content you’re posting. Using hashtags to promote your events doesn’t have to be overwhelming or complicated, just think like your target audience and stick to relevant hashtags and you’ll be fine.