This week on the Magnet Minute, Amy shares some advice on how to use hashtags to optimize your social media presence.

Facebook recently announced it’ll implement the use of hashtags on its network, making it all the more important to brush up on some basic rules for using the popular social media feature as a means of reaching a larger audience and expanding your network.

The first thing you need to do is research the hashtags you want to use. It’s not difficult; it’s just typing the term into a search and discovering what kind of conversations are already happening there. You’ll want to make sure you understand what people have come to expect in that stream, putting you in tune with the ongoing conversation.

When using a hashtag for an event, make sure you do the research on whether or not that hashtag is already being used. It’s typical for events to use an acronym and the last two digits of the year as a hashtag, but it’s possible you’re using the same letters and numbers as another event. Make sure you’re the only one using it so you don’t interrupt a conversation happening around another event. That will only confuse your attendees and make it less likely they’ll socially engage with your brand.

You should also use the same hashtags consistently so that people can get to know who you are. But on the same note, don’t be spammy and use multiple hashtags in all of your updates. Having three or more is known to be disregarded by users altogether, irritating both your followers and the hashtag participants. Advice: keep it to two or fewer hashtags per post so that you’re not perceived as someone trying to get more followers without really engaging into the actual conversation.

Comedic hashtags are a lot of fun, but if you use them too frequently, they no longer serve your intended purpose. By overdoing them, all of your effective activity won’t be taken seriously. Try to stick with helpful hashtags and avoid trying to be funny all the time. If it’s not natural, avoid the funny hashtag.

Finally, if you’re going to use a hashtag, make sure you’re engaging it as well. You should be talking with others who are posting in the search activity just as you would like them to do with your content. The more you do this, the more likely you will be seen as a good source in that search stream — simply, engage where you’d like to be engaged.

A great way to track all of your hashtags is to use a social monitoring platform like Hootsuite or a search platform like Storify or Tagboard can track hashtag activity as well.

Are you using hashtags? Have you seen it effectively increase your network? Share in the comments.

Any thoughts on hashtag usage? What do you think of Facebook’s hashtag addition? Let us know in the comments and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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