Do Google+ Hashtags Make a Difference?

Google+ hashtags, man holding hashtag-like

Although they were originally designed specifically for use on Twitter, #hashtags have since made their way into other social media networks, including Google+. They allow users to categorize and curate their content so it’s easier for other users to locate. While the use of hashtags has proven beneficial on Twitter, some marketers are skeptical of its effectiveness on Google+.

Google+ Hashtags

Hashtags on Google+ work much in the same way as Twitter: by including the # sign before a word or phrase without spaces, your post will be displayed anytime someone searches for that word. Google+ is unique, however, in the sense that it automatically includes relevant hashtags to your post (note: you can still manually add them as well). Whenever you create a new post, Google+ will automatically include relevant hashtags pertaining to the content. This is in stark contrast to Twitter and other social media networks, all of which require hashtags to be created manually.

Study Reveals Benefits of Hashtags on Google+

The research team at Search Engine Journal recently conducted a study to determine the impact of Google+ hashtags and whether or not they were useful in boosting user engagement. From June 8 through August 11, the team analyzed eight separate Google+ profiles, paying close attention to the number of +1s they received, as well as comments, shares, and whether or not the posts had hashtags.

So, what did they find out?

For the first month of the study, the SEJ team found posts without hashtags received 8,933 +1s, 643 comments, and 2,281 shares, whereas posts with hashtags received a whopping 14,692 +1s, 602 comments, and 2,333 shares. Granted, there were slightly fewer comments among the posts with hashtags, but they had far more +1s, indicating that hashtags are in fact beneficial on Google’s social media network. As the study progressed, researchers found the benefits of hashtags to taper off. Posts with hashtags continued to yield more +1s, although to a lesser degree.

Researchers concluded that Google+ posts with hashtags received roughly 1.23 times more +1s than posts without hashtags. The team notes, however, that the final data is “actually inconclusive,” so you should take this with a grain of salt. Either way, adding hashtags to your posts certainly can’t hurt, and conventional wisdom — along with this study — would suggest that it’s beneficial in attracting more views and +1s.

Best Practices for Using Hashtags on Google+

  • Include no more than three hashtags for each post.
  • Check to see which hashtags are currently trending on social media, using them in relevant posts.
  • Remember, hashtags may only consist of letters with no spaces, numbers or special characters.
  • Hashtags can be included in the comments section of your Google+ posts, as well.
  • Only include hashtags that are in some way related to your posts.

Do you think hashtags are beneficial for Google+? Let us know in the comments section below! Then, contact us to discuss your social media marketing strategy.

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