Google+ Hashtags, Do’s and Don’ts

Google+-Hashtags

Hashtags have been around for a while now and most of us are probably familiar with them as they relate to Twitter.  A hashtag is a word or phrase (with no spaces) preceded by the # sign, like #socialmedia, for example.  These hashtags exist to help people find and participate in conversations on topics that interest them.

For marketers, it is important to pause and think about which hashtags to include or not include in our posts because this will have a big influence on who discovers (or fails to discover) what we are posting about.  The right choices lead reach broader audiences that are more likely to share and spread your message while the wrong choices can cause otherwise great content to underachieve as the message is never received by the right audience.

Bearing in mind that Google+ is not Twitter, it is also important that we don’t assume the same approach used on one social platform will net the same results on another.  So how do we decide how best to utilize #hashtags to nurture our growing Google+ presence?  Check out the following list of “do’s” and “don’ts” to help get you started in the right direction.

Do:

  • Pair your hashtags with images!  Photo sharing is the most popular activity on Google+, so make sure you are including photos and other images complemented by appropriate hashtags to give your posts the best opportunity to be viewed by the most people.

  • Set a realistic goal of using 2-3 hashtags per post.  You want to cast a wider net than you would with only one hashtag, but using too many can muddy the waters and detract from the message you aim to send.

  • Include hashtags when you post to communities.  This is the best way to foster and track the conversations you initiate and participate in.

  • Take advantage of trending hashtags that are pertinent to your content.  This is a good way to gain additional followers, provided the hashtag you are using really does connect to the content you are sharing.  It can also be a great way to come up with new content that fits.

  • Run hashtag-connected campaigns and track metrics related to those campaigns.  This is how you will be able to refine and improve your Google+ hashtag use in the future.

Don’t:

  • Try to replace quality posts with hashtags.  Hashtags are there to augment your post, not to be your post.

  • #hashtag #every #word #in #your #post.  As stated above, 2-3 hashtags is plenty, if you overdo it, you cause more harm than good

  • #useverylonghashtagsthatarehardtoread.  Wasn’t that way too long and hard to read?  Google+ allows for more specific hashtagging in some respects than Twitter, but you still want to keep them concise.  Nobody wants to try to decode the sprawling, sentence-long hashtag.

  • Use trending hashtags without finding out why they are trending.  Think about it like this, if you use a hashtag like #NYC because it is trending and you have something going on in New York City, that makes sense on the surface.  However, it is important to check why #NYC is trending first in case a major event has taken place or is taking place that you do not want to tie your brand to.

  • Use hashtags for trending topics that aren’t truly connected to what you are posting about.  This would be a cheap way to quickly have your post seen by more people and new people, but if you are trying to rope people in with misleading hashtags it will ultimately burn more bridges than it will add interested followers.  The people you reach are also not likely to be the right audience either, so avoid this perceived shortcut.

  • Use incorrect hashtags.  This is if you are planning to reference or give a nod to another person or topic that is already being discussed.  Don’t guess what hashtag is being used, find out!  The idea is to tie your contribution to an existing conversation, don’t overlook this detail or you’ll find your conversation is siloed from the conversation at large.

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