How to use hashtags effectively – 3 mistakes to avoid

Hashtags are one of the best marketing tools available for podiatrists to harness social power to spark engagement with their customers, but sometimes it can look like a whole new world. Using them however is easier than you might think – here are our top three mistakes to avoid when using hashtags.


Mistake #1 – Not using hashtags


Often podiatrists might not be using hashtags because they don’t know what they are, or how to use them. It’s simple! A hashtag is method of grouping social media posts on a topic with a word preceded by a hash sign (#) – hence the name 🙂


As an example, if you’re watching the Great British Bake Off (#GBBO) on TV at the moment and wondering what other people think, searching #GBBO will bring up posts on the topic that include that hashtag. Hashtags make it easier to join popular conversations and get your content noticed by more people. Studies show that posts with fitting and popular hashtags get twice the interaction of those without.


Mistake #2 – Too many hashtags


The other potential pitfall with hashtags is when your post becomes cluttered with hashtags to the point where it detracts from your key message. Having too many hashtags can make your content look spammy and unoriginal – not words you want associated with your practice!


In addition, on a platform like Twitter you only have a limited number of characters available so it’s important to keep your message on the forefront. Try to limit yourself to a maximum of three hashtags per post.


Mistake #3 – Ineffective hashtags


Be careful of falling into the trap of using hashtags solely as a funny ending note. Ending your post with something along the lines of #PodiatryProSavesTheDay might add some ‘character’ to your content but is unlikely to do much more.


Remember the purpose of hashtags – joining social conversations. Your hashtag might be witty but is it going to help you connect with your target market, or to put it another way – is anyone likely to ever actually search for it?


What next then?


So how can we come up with effective hashtags to use for smart marketing? When you are choosing which hashtags to use try to think like your target audience, so in this case try to think like your patients. What topics might they be interested in and what hashtags might they realistically search for on social media? General-purpose hashtags like #podiatrist and #Manchester (or any city) can be a great place to start if you’re having difficulty getting started.


Create content that shows what makes your practice great and try to relate it to hot topics. Participating in the online debate will spread your content, and when patients and potential patients see your posts it will keep you at the top of the minds and make the appointments and referrals roll in.