Hashtags are a great way to reach your audience, boost your message and drive engagement. To be effective, you must know when and where to use hashtags. Forcing them into your posts or using them in awkward places will stand out to your audience, and not in a good way. Millennials are used to seeing hashtags in the content they consume, so they will notice a post that is trying too hard.

Hashtags are most popular on Twitter and Instagram, though they can be used on Facebook as well. If you’re interested in reaching more of your audience using hashtags, we have a few tips to keep in mind. The more comfortable you get using hashtags, the more effective they will be!

Consider Value and Relevance

Before using a hashtag, make sure that it’s relevant and valuable to your institution. There are various types of hashtags, so take your time determining the approach you want to take. For example, trending hashtags are short lived and can help get your college seen by a larger audience. Brand hashtags are made specifically for your higher institution to reach your defined target audience.

Here are some ideas of hashtags that you can use to engage millennials.

  • Move-in day hashtags

  • Game day hashtags

  • Finals week hashtags

  • Events around campus hashtags

  • Graduation hashtags

  • Hashtags related to your academic programs

Assess Hashtag Popularity

Hashtagify.me is a neat tool that determines how popular a particular hashtag is. Before giving a hashtag space in your post, run it through the tool to see how popular it is likely to be. (You will receive a rating of 1-100.) Related hashtags will be presented as well, so you might find something that looks even better and has the potential to be popular. Using more than one hashtag can also be effective.

Avoid Using Too Many Hashtags

While there is some flexibility in how many hashtags you can add to your posts, avoid using too many. Also, do not place them in the middle of your sentences. This can send the message that you’re trying too hard, plus make it difficult to read the content. To reinforce your message, always place hashtags at the end of the sentence.

Pay Attention to the Platform

Something else to consider is the platform that you are using. For example, Twitter is a text-based platform that uses hashtags to organize information. By clicking on the hashtags, your audience can join in a conversation or follow certain topics. Instagram, on the other hand, is a visual-based platform. Hashtags are used to navigate images so they can be found by the right audiences. Consider the platform that you are using and how your hashtag relates to it.

Be Authentic

Finally, avoid piggybacking off other hashtags, particularly those that are meant to be funny or have no relation to your school. Just because a popular movie comes out doesn’t mean that you should try to work it into your posts. Be authentic and choose hashtags that relate to your audience.

Hashtags are effective at cutting through the noise, reaching the right audience, and enhancing your message. By following the tips above, you can more effectively engage a millennial audience.