If youre not getting the amount of audience engagement you were initially hoping for, there is a very simple, straightforward way to start seeing those results. You will be pleasantly surprised at how simple and effective using hashtags can be.

On the other hand, it is just as easy to get hashtagging wrong. There are four fundamental rules that you should live by when hashtagging on social media:

1. Align hashtags with your brand: Just like all other aspects of branding, it must be consistent this includes your hashtag. If your audience have to try too hard to understand, or it is overly complicated, then it wont catch on, and you wont get your desired results.

To get the best hashtag, look at what tags other brands use and how successful they are and use this as a guideline.

2. Choose hashtags carefully: No one can every fully predict how things are going to turn out when using social media. It is likely that things wont go the way you originally planned, whether this is a good or bad thing is up to you.

One thing to keep in mind is that your hashtag may eventually get hijacked. To prevent this happening you should go back to the first rule of aligning with the brand. The more connected your brand and hashtag are the less likely it is that someone else will start using your tag.

3. Take your hashtag offline: Try to make the most of this resource, you can do this by reaching out past social media. It is important that you use them as part of you wider branding.

Small businesses can make it easy for their customers to share positive reviews and social comments about their experiences by encouraging the use of a hashtag.

4. Introduce variety with hashtags: While you will be consistent with your image and your brand, hashtags offer you the opportunity to be more fun and playful. The nature of social media is that it moves incredibly quickly, so to maintain visibility you have to work hard. The quirkier and more interesting hashtags will be the ones that stick in your users minds longer.