How To Build A Super Strong Hashtag Strategy
Hashtags are simple words or short sentences used with the pound sign (#) in front of them. More specifically, they’re the keywords that make your content relevant on social media. So it’s important to have a strong hashtag strategy.
The hashtag trend was born in 2007 on Twitter when a tech product designer, Chris Messina, started looking for ways to organize content. After that, they became a way for indexing trending keywords. And before we knew it, they picked up popularity and spread across all other social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
How Do Hashtags Help You?
They increase engagement – Twitter reports that using hashtags can increase engagement by up to 100% for individuals and by up to 50% for brands. If you want to be seen more and have more people engage with you, using the right hashtags would be a great way to achieve those goals. Once you have built a solid brand hashtag, you can build your audience quickly. Using hashtags can increase your chances of your content being shared, which is another perk.
They help your audience find you – Using relevant keywords as hashtags, you can make your brand easier to discover. Especially as hashtags that spread quickly and are used by a lot of different accounts start trending. And as hashtags themselves can be followed on platforms like Instagram, new users can find you more easily. Another great way to use hashtags is to created branded hashtags that use with your product launches, company announcements, etc.
Coming Up With The Right Hashtags For Your Brand
Research Your Options
As the old saying goes, look before you leap. Or, in this case, research before you hashtag. Hashtags are most effective on Twitter and Instagram, but it’s worth your time to figure out which are most popular on each platform. Take a look at what influencers and leaders in your industry are having success with. To get an idea of the best hashtag options for you, consider some of these tools:
- RiteTag provides hashtag suggestions for images and text-based on real-time hashtag engagement.
- hashtagify.me allows you to find top influencers on Twitter and Instagram for different keywords. From there, you can see how they’re posting and which of their hashtags are working well.
- Keyhole offers real-time analysis of industry and campaign-specific hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. This allows brands to figure out which tags are most popular with their audience and how to promote during peak times.
- Trendsmap is helpful to determine geographically specific Twitter hashtag trends. If you’re a local business, or have an audience in a particular location, this will be especially helpful.
All of the above, offer 7 day free trials so you can test out these options to see what works best for you.
Choose Relevant Hashtags
Not every hashtag that’s trending is relevant to you and your target audience. And going beyond that some hashtags represent things you may not wish to be associated with at all. Make sure you’re clear on your brand identity and marketing goals, and then set out to identify hashtags which will reinforce both.
You’ll also want to come up with brand and campaign-specific hashtags. Brand hashtags are specific to your business and should be used to promote your brand. They could be your brand name, or tagline.
Campaign hashtags should be campaign-specific and used to promote your campaigns. In the case of both, brand and campaign hashtags, it’s important to see if they are currently being used and how. If your brand or campaign have common names, you’ll want to come up with something unique that still represents them.
And last but not least, be sure to find ways to get your followers to use your brand and campaign hashtags too (contests, challenges, etc.) This will help you get more engagement and reach.
Always Aim For Simple But Specific
The simpler the hashtag is, the easier it is for people to search for. Imagine yourself typing a hashtag that includes all the 26 letters in the alphabet. Now imagine asking your followers to do the same. Painful for everyone involved. So, keep them simple.
Especially when it comes to your brand and campaign-specific hashtags, you want it to be easy for your audience to engage.
Now when it comes to being specific, you want to make sure you niche down in your target market. The more specific your hashtags, the more you can target particular audiences. And more inclined they will be to engage with the content you post.
Overall to keep your hashtag strategy focused, you’ll want to include a balance of relevant general, niche and location-based hashtags. Consider including a branded hashtag with every post, and holiday, event and local hashtags from time to time to boost your posts’ visibility.
Post With Platforms In Mind
Using too many hashtags can be marked as hashtag spam. Especially on the wrong platform. And using too little can make you invisible. That’s why it’s important to know the number of hashtags you should include in each post. Here’s a quick snapshot:
- Twitter: 1-2
- Instagram: 9-15, and up to 30
- Facebook: 1-2
- LinkedIn: 1-2
Hashtags On Twitter
Twitter is where it all began, so don’t let the number of hashtags fool you. It’s still a great platform to implement a strong hashtag strategy on. On Twitter, users can search to find the top posts including a certain hashtag to engage with trending topics. And they can see posts associated with a particular hashtag – even if they’re not following that account – that’s pretty useful.
Twitter will suggest hashtags that you may want to check out based on your location and interests. You’ll find this under the ‘Trends for You’ tab. By adjusting the location to be your target audiences’, you can get insights into what’s trending for them. Just be sure not to overload your posts – including too many hashtags, or irrelevant hashtags can cause users to not to engage with you, and even report your account.
Hashtags On Instagram
With Instagram more is more. The more hashtags you use, the more engagement you can get. And there are more perks too. Users can follow hashtags, making it easier to discover you. Hashtags can be used in Instagram stories. Instagram’s native analytics tool can help you track the number of people who’ve landed on your profile based on the hashtags you’ve used.
So where do you come up with all these hashtags? A few ideas include daily hashtags, location, niche, brand, communities, relevant phrases and topic channel tags. By using a variety of hashtags you can reach a variety of audiences.
If you want to avoid crowding your captions, one common tactic on Instagram is to include hashtags in the first comment. You can also create space between your caption and hashtags by adding punctuation and then hitting enter. Add a period at the end of your caption and hit return. Then keep adding a period and hitting return as many times as you’d like to create additional line breaks before you add in your hashtags. Just be sure not to hit the spacebar.
Hashtags On Facebook
Your Facebook hashtag strategy needs to factor in the fact that most profiles on Facebook are private. So engaging with users based on hashtags is a bit more difficult. And most hashtags we can find published on Facebook are published by influencers, brands, and publishers. But while you won’t be able to necessarily engage with all of your target audience, they will be able to search for and engage with you based on your use of hashtags.
So for example, if you have a campaign featuring unique content, your users can click on your hashtag(s) to find more of your content. Since the best practice is to use 1-2 hashtags, brands tend to stick with 1 brand hashtag and then 1 hashtag which is either popular (e.g. #motivationmonday) or a campaign-specific hashtag.
To find out how popular particular hashtags are on Facebook, you have 2 options. One is by searching via the search box. The other by using the URL facebook.com/hashtag/keywordyouwanttosearch.
Hashtags On LinkedIn
Hashtags on LinkedIn are a pretty recent addition. They were just added in 2018. And they take direction from the fact that the platform is geared towards business and networking for professional purposes. This means hashtags are commonly direct and work-appropriate. They should also be industry-specific, which is where your research will come in handy. To make sure your hashtags are professional, be sure to search them to see if there are any unintended double entendres lurking.
LinkedIn will automatically suggest hashtags when you add the # sign to a post. Take a look through the suggestions to see if any are relevant for you. Another strategy is to follow hashtags. Similar to Twitter and Instagram, LinkedIn allows you to follow hashtags which will give you the opportunity to identify content and hashtag ideas to use.
Stay Topical & Keep Evolving Your Strategy
To make sure you have a super strong hashtag strategy, be sure to assess how effective your hashtags are over time. And tweak as you need to.
And for added boosts, keep an eye on the calendar and plan ahead to take advantage of popular events and holidays. As long as they are relevant to your target audience and industry, they’ll help you expand your reach. Do the same with trending topics. But if you miss a trending topic, don’t try to make it happen after the moment has passed. There will always be other opportunities.
Creating and implementing a hashtag strategy is an important part of your social media game. We hope these tips get you well on your way. 🙂