I’m back this week with yet another lesson in social media marketing basics! Hashtags are ubiquitous on social media. Not only are they fun to use in a creative way, but they can also be used as an effective marketing tactic… if you use them strategically. Learn how to hashtag the right way!
Hashtags as a method of informally tagging similar content in a group or message first became popular on Twitter, but has since spread to nearly every social media platform. So which platforms are best suited for marketing specific hashtag use?
Not the originator, but as the platform that saw the first widespread use of hashtags, Twitter is a great place to start. Twitter has a regular user base in the hundred millions. While that number is starting to decline, there’s no denying Twitter is a big, big platform. A user’s ability to curate their own content means there are thousands of insular, bubble-like communities. Instagram is the same way. It can be hard to grow an audience if no one is seeing your content.
That is where hashtags come in. Doing your research and finding the right hashtags will allow your posts and profile to appear in relevant searches within the platform. Using these hashtags regularly is a key strategy in growing your audience on Twitter and Instagram.
Facebook is a different story. Hashtags on Facebook are an opportunity to build your brand in a custom way. I’ve been experimenting recently with creating my own hashtags on Facebook, and I found that posts with my custom hashtag out-performed posts without. So if you post regular, timely content (say, a link to a weekly blog post) to Facebook, consider coming up with a unique hashtag to make your own!
Knowing your audience is key to using hashtags strategically. Really, you can determine which hashtags to use by answering one big question: what is everybody else using? It’s only a little more complicated than that. Let’s break it down:
- What is the competition using? What hashtags are your rivals in the same field using? Especially ones that have been around a little longer or found more success. You have an opportunity to share your content with their audience by using some of the same hashtags.
- What are industry insiders using? In nearly every professional field there are thought-leaders, innovators, and people the masses just pay close attention to. Making yourself a part of the same conversations those people are having is a great way to get your brand presence in front of new eyes, and build a reputation as a thought-leader yourself.
- Can I make my post a meme? I can’t recommend every brand go for the sillier side of the internet, but there are all-time popular hashtags that are meme-related that are still in wide use. If you have an old photo that can go on Instagram, maybe save it for Thursday and use #tbt (throwback thursday). Other popular hashtags to explore are #love, #friday, #fashion, #cute.
- Does my location matter? Yes, there are popular hashtags that are location based, too! If you operate out of a brick-and-mortar storefront, or prefer local clients, these can be useful hashtags to use to engage your local community. #pdx represent!
With these guidelines in mind, start making a list of hashtags you can use with your posts. Use the platforms themselves to explore how each hashtag is being used, to make sure it’s a conversation you want to be a part of. Remember, active and popular hashtags are good, inactive, unpopular hashtags are not.
Hashtags might seem intimidating at first, but while there is a lot to know about them, you can start seeing results with just a few small steps. Above all, remember to stay flexible, and don’t be afraid to experiment! If you need a hand, we can help! Reach out and chat with us about social media today.