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We love the hashtag. That little symbol has taken social media by storm. People with personal accounts have fun with hashtags in that they can tell us an entertaining and often humorous story. However, business needs a different, more focused approach when using hashtags.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram require different approaches when it comes to the hashtag. Use of hashtags on social media is actually quite an involved conversation, which we will visit in the future. The following do's and don'ts are just a guideline for the beginner.

DO use hashtags on facebook, but limit it to 2 or 3 searchable keywords. Your location, a local event such as #CraftBeerWeek, or common promotion such as #HappyHour. For a seasonal special such as Spot Prawns, which are in Season right now use #SpotPrawn to ride the hashtag wave.
DON'T list so many hashtags that they become larger than the actual post. Never combine content with hashtags in your comments, as it makes for a messy read and discourages engagement. Example.... The #BrownCow jumped over the #Moon. "  

DO use hashtags, but for the sake of being able to say what you need to in 148 characters, limit them to one or two. Keep them relative to, and in line with your brand after searching keywords in the twitter browser. Unless trending topics are relative to your message, it is not recommended that you use them in your posts. You may get followers, but for the wrong reasons.
DON'T retweet and change the original poster's hashtags to suit yours, as it does not fall under Social Media Best Practices. use hashtags as a response to someone else's post as it looks like you are not genuinely interested in them and are only promoting yourselves. 

DO feel free to use an abundance of hashtags on Instagram, but only in your comment box directly after you post your photograph, and only related content and a branded hashtag if you are using one. Although you are allowed up to 30 tags in Instagram, unless it is relevant to your brand you are wasting your efforts. Keep it to between 5-10 relevant tags.
DON'T use hashtags as a response to someone else's post as it looks like you are not genuinely interested in them and are only promoting yourselves.

How do you know what hashtag will work for your business? 

Do a little research. In the search bar of your facebook, twitter or instagram pages search the hashtag you are considering.  If the search comes up empty, you will lower your reach on your post because nobody is searching for that. When using branded hashtags, use them consistently and in proper context. 

Hashtags are a great tool for social monitoring. This means that if your hashtag is specific to your messaging it is easy to check out what people are saying when they use the hashtag. We will leave you with this little nugget. Like many other things, use hashtags in moderation. After all your hard work, the last thing you want is for your brand to be thought of as a spammer. 



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