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How to use hashtags: A guide for law firms on social media

There are numerous tools out there to help promote your law firm on social media. Perhaps one of the most powerful and effective tools being used today is the hashtag. When used correctly, hashtags can serve as a powerful instrument to help your content get discovered and make an impact in the digital world. Of course, mastering the use of hashtags takes plenty of research and time, as not every social network uses them in the same way. Read below to learn more about why your law firm should use hashtags and how to effectively apply them to your social posts.

What is a hashtag?

A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the pound symbol (#). In the social media world, they group together particular topics, interests, and keywords in a way that makes content easily searchable on social networks and draws attention to specific matters. You can think of hashtags as a way to organize the massive amount of content flooding social media platforms each and every day. A few widely used examples include #ThrowbackThursday (or #TBT), #PhotoOfTheDay, #NationalDonutDay, and more.

Hashtag basics

While it seems simple enough to add a # sign in front of a few key words, there are certain nuances to keep in mind before getting started:

  • Hashtags always include the # in front and will not work if you include spaces or punctuation within them.
  • Use capital letters at the beginning of each word (also known as camel case) to keep the words easy to read and thus your message clear.
  • They should be used for their intended purpose of categorizing and discovering specific information. Don’t string a ton of words together randomly.
  • When creating hashtags, use the words your target audience might type into the search bar.
  • Make sure your social networks are public (not private). That way, when people search for specific hashtags, your content will show up.
  • Avoid spamming your audience with too many tags; only use hashtags that are relevant to the content you are sharing.
  • Don’t feel forced to use hashtags with every post you share. Only include them if they add value and will attract and stimulate the right kind of attention and engagement.
  • Consider the social network on which you are posting before including hashtags. Platforms may have specific rules or have no valuable use for hashtags at all.

How to use hashtags

There are numerous ways to go about using hashtags, but two key approaches we recommend are: 1) Using an original hashtag created by your law firm to build your brand and distinguish your content and 2) Using trending and relevant hashtags to help your target audience find you. Additionally, consider the best practices for each particular social network. We’ve listed our best tips and general information below by social media channel:

Twitter

  • Hashtags are extremely effective on this platform.
  • Use one to three relevant hashtags per tweet.
  • A hashtag can be used anywhere in a tweet: use it at the beginning of a tweet to emphasize something, use it in the middle to highlight a key word, or use it at the end to summarize.
  • Use hashtags in your bio, replies to other tweets, and Retweets.
  • Research trending Twitter topics and apply the relevant ones to your content to boost reach and engagement.
  • Consider location-based hashtags to attract local potential clients such as #HouNews.

Facebook

  • Hashtags are not widely used on this platform.
  • Use one to two hashtags per post, if any.
  • You can include hashtags in the text of a post or in a comment.
  • Hashtags can be beneficial for grouping content within private Facebook groups or when running a Facebook advertising campaign.

LinkedIn

  • Hashtags are searchable in this platform’s search bar and can be “followed” by users to stay on top of certain topics (e.g., #LegalNews).
  • Use one to three hashtags per update.
  • Trending hashtags appear on the LinkedIn homepage under “news and views.”
  • Include hashtags at the end of updates to your Page.
  • This platform automatically suggests hashtags for you to use while you type a post. If they are applicable, use them.

Instagram

  • Using more hashtags on this platform can lead to an increase in followers and engagement.
  • Use five to ten hashtags at the end of each post, after a carefully considered caption (pro tip: you can also post your hashtags as the post’s first comment if you want more focus on your caption).
  • Users can include hashtags in a post, in comments, and in stories.
  • Users can “follow” hashtags to stay on top of certain topics and trends.
  • Hashtags can be searched in the network’s Explore tab.

YouTube

  • Hashtags are widely used on this platform to help users search for what they want to watch.
  • Use two to three hashtags per video.
  • Using more than 15 hashtags can cause your YouTube Channel to be flagged as spam.
  • Included hashtags in the title and description of videos.
  • The first three hashtags in a description will show above the video’s title, so make them count.
  • Hashtags are hyperlinked, leading users to multiple videos under one search.

Social Media Strategy

No matter the social network on which you are posting, it is clear hashtags can help build your digital reputation. These hyperlinked organizational constructs can connect your law firm with potential clients online during a time when virtually everyone is potentially a part of an online audience. The success of your hashtags depends on the research you put into selecting them and how you use them. When developing a hashtag strategy for your law firm, consider our useful tips above. If you find that you need help with hashtags and other strategic communication efforts, contact the digital marketing experts at Stacey E. Burke P.C. today.

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