Regardless of what social media platform you decide to use for your book promotion, a detailed knowledge on the correct usage of hashtags is essential. When you master this elaborate art, you would easily be able to reach new audiences and be discovered by search engines.
What are hashtags?
A hashtag looks like a pound symbol (#), accompanied by a word or a phrase, and sometimes even a short sentence. When a hashtag is used with a tweet or a post, it indicates that the said tweet/post relates to a specific topic or belongs to a certain category, and then can easily be found.
Hashtags help social media users locate relevant content and keep up with the latest news across the world, and allows them to like, comment, follow and contribute to the ongoing conversation. Having originated on Twitter, hashtags are now used in nearly every social media platform, from Instagram, Facebook, and now Pinterest.
On Twitter, for instance, the hashtag #AppleEvent is a way for Apple to let the world know of their upcoming events and newest models. Whenever there is a new Apple release, Twitter would be filled with tweets with this hashtag, and by clicking on it you can join in on the hype yourself. (Twitter even introduced this new feature where, if you like any tweet with the hashtag #AppleEvent, the like button briefly turned into the Apple logo!)
Hashtags have even evolved as a way for people to show support for a cause or a social issue and to raise awareness.
How to Use Hashtags?
Madalyn Sklar, from the TwitterSmarter Podcast, says (on the proper usage of hashtags), “You can create your own hashtag that is unique to your brand! It’s a way to bring your community together and allows you to stand out from the competition… It also needs to be memorable, especially if you want to encourage your community to use it as well. Oh, and don’t go overboard by making your branded hashtag too long. You don’t want it to take up too many characters.”
Here are some things you should keep in mind when using hashtags with your posts and tweets:
- Your hashtags should have no spaces in between words.
- They should have no punctuation (not even fullstops or question marks!)
- They should have no special characters.
- They should always be relevant to your content (using irrelevant hashtags just because they’re trending at the moment is considered to go against social media ethics).
Types of Hashtags
There are three main types of hashtags used for social media marketing:
01. Content Hashtags
Content hashtags are hashtags that are relevant to your content. They are not about trending topics or brand-specific content. They are used directly to engage with the target audience by using common words that would indicate what the content is about. They are an easy way to categorize your content and make it discoverable.
For instance, if you’re posting about book marketing and promotion, you follow it up with the hashtag #bookmarketing. But make sure you don’t hashtag every single word in your post/tweet!
02. Branded Hashtags
Brand hashtags are unique to individual brands and are a way for companies to reach out to their customers about upcoming brand events and new releases. Brand hashtags must be short, concise and catchy—like Nike’s #DoItYourself or KitKat’s #HaveABreak hashtags.
Coming up with a catchy and interesting hashtag for your book can determine the success of your marketing campaign—the more people who start using it themselves, the more hype is created around your book and the more brand recognition you gain.
03. Trending Hashtags
Trending hashtags are about recent popular conversations. You can easily find trending hashtags and join these conversations, but be careful when using them for the promotion of your book. Use only the most relevant trending hashtags—and find out what makes those hashtags trending in the first place—to avoid attracting negative publicity.
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.