I was demonstrating the power of Instagram in harnessing our media habit (see last week’s post about our media habit) in a workshop in Strathalbyn yesterday, when I was asked about hashtags.
The very switched on group noted that Twitter likes hashtags and Instagram likes hashtags and now that Facebook owns Instagram, should we use hashtags in Facebook.
As is often the case in my job, my answer was ‘it depends’, although I err towards the answer ‘no’.
Here’s my thinking on this.
Hashtags link the world in Instagram and Twitter
The raw power on Instagram and Twitter is most evident when we use hashtags within or after our posts because hashtags help link content within a theme across the world.
In a quick, improvised picture from yesterday’s workshop to exploit the fact three participants attended in Melbourne Cup attire, we took a snap and then shared it in the Instagram app complete with hashtags.
I chose Strathalbyn and MelbourneCup as two hashtags to insert upon this occasion, to demonstrate hashtags at work. If you click on hashtagged words in Instragram or Twitter, you will see a stream of content sharing that hashtag, instantly opening up a world of people interested in that topic.
Here is the tweet, sent directly from Instagram:
— Baker Marketing (@baker_marketing) November 3, 2015
However, instead of instantly choosing to share this via Facebook as well, I de-hashtagged it.
Clean, hashtag-free Facebook zones: A sight for sore eyes
While it is true that some people are using hashtags in Facebook status updates, my experience and feedback from users across the web suggests that Facebook people typically dislike the use of hashtags in this space.
I believe we need to tread lightly in social media spaces when crafting marketing messages, so currently I err against using hashtags in Facebook to avoid giving people reasons to spurn my updates: it really is a privilege that brands can be in social spaces at all!
Therefore, within Instagram, I showed my class how I go back to a picture just shared, click the three little dots to open the menu and choose share, then edit my caption to remove hashtags (and often to recraft the caption to exploit the nuance of the audience and the more generous allowance of characters compared to Twitter), click the Facebook icon available and then hit Share at the top right of the screen.
This results in a hashtag-free post to Facebook, all from the Instagram app.
The real outcome of this excercise is an awareness of being mindful of the mores and expectations in the social media channels in which you share links to your blog posts.
For example, when sharing links to this post in Twitter, we should use a hashtag or two in the caption. But on Facebook it would be best to set up the interesting point about the article in some straightforward text to whet a user’s appetite in the hope they will click through to read the full story.
And practising this discipline by using Instagram is a win win win because you are also contributing some extra content to your marketing efforts along the way.