Hashtags are one of the most relevant discoverability tools on social media. With hashtags, you can index your content as a part of the huge pool of content on social media. As a brand, you want to reach out to everyone, even those who aren’t your followers. Every time you add a hashtag to your posts, it becomes a part of the content pool. As such, whenever someone will look up that hashtag, they will find your content amongst various other content posts using the same hashtag.
If you haven’t inculcated hashtags as a part of your social media strategy, you should do it now. Hashtags create links to all those posts within a social media channel that use the same hashtags. They also allow for cross channel linking. Since hashtags work like links, they push your audience to take action. So, people may discover your content through a hashtag and explore more content from your profile if they like your content.
Hashtags are not just a discoverability tool, they also help add to brand identity. Your hashtags can reflect your brand voice and image in the best possible manner. Since hashtags are a part of your content, they reflect what your brand stands for. In this sense, it is important to use hashtags wisely and to the optimum.
Irrespective of your social media goals, first, it is important that your social media posts are discovered by a large portion of the audience.For this, you need to have a strong hashtag strategy. It should direct you on how to employ these optimally and take your social media performance to the next level.
Here’s a set of tips and tricks you can refer to, for using hashtags effectively on social media:
1. Using hashtags in the right manner
The most important thing to consider when posting on social media is to ensure that you place your hashtags at the right place. You also need to be sure as to how many hashtags to use. The placement of hashtags as well as the number of hashtags will vary across social media platforms.
On Instagram, you can add hashtags for your social media copies, stories, comments and bio. You can use about 30 hashtags in total, on Instagram, but it is recommended to go for 7-8 hashtags for your Instagram posts. In your Instagram posts, it is recommended that you add hashtags after your caption rather than as a part of your caption. You can add hashtags to stories as it is, or as stickers and increase your chance of being discovered by others. Add relevant hashtags in your Instagram bio as well. Also, keep track of all competitor hashtags, audience favourite hashtags and other important hashtags.
On Facebook, you have to follow a slightly different policy. Instead of adding hashtags after the caption, you have to use them within the caption. Use no more than 2-3 hashtags when using on Facebook.
It is recommended to use 1-2 hashtags on Twitter in the field at the bottom of the post form. You can add appropriate hashtags on your Twitter chats as well.
2. Take inspiration from your products, business, niche etc.
It can actually be quite confusing as to how you can put your Instagram hashtags to use. To start with, you can list out all keywords associated with your industry or business. You could also use your products as an inspiration. If you are a bag manufacturing company for instance, you can focus on hashtags such as fashion, bags, style and so on.
Once you start listing out words, you will find many hashtags with which you can associate your brand. The idea is to find hashtags under which you would categorise your brand and add them to your content.
3. Target-audience focused hashtags
Some of the best hashtags to use come out from an understanding of your audience.Using a social media analytics tool can help you in achieving this.With a social media analytics tool such as Unbox Social, you can uncover important insights about your audience. Based on this intelligence, you can develop clarity about who your target audience is, their gender and location.
Now that you have a clear customer segment to focus on, you will have to conduct a research on which hashtags are being used frequently. On the basis of their interests and lifestyle, you can identify which hashtags will work well for your strategy.
4. Competitor research based hashtags
There is a lot that you can learn from your competition on social media. Keep a watch on your competitors, especially the hashtag strategy of brands with successful social media strategies.
What hashtag strategy are they putting to use? Which are the hashtags that they are using? Because you are competing with your rivals for the same audience, the hashtags that they are using will be of relevance to you as well.
5. Brand-focused hashtags
Some of the most popular hashtags can be derived from your brand. Create brand-focused hashtags on the basis of your brand name, slogan or mottos. This allows for cross-channel tagging for your brand. Take the example of Nike’s #JustDoIt. The slogan continues to be one of the most catchy lines for brands.
Planning to launch a new campaign? You can then generate buzz around your campaign by adding the hashtag with every social media post that goes live.
You can also take it to the next level by pushing for user generated content. Encourage your audience to share all content featuring your brand or products and showcase these with your campaign hashtag.In this way, you can create more content for your brand on platforms and increase your engagement.
6. Event-Focused Hashtags
Build a buzz around an upcoming event by simply creating a hashtag around it. Now that you have a hashtag for the event, you can add all social media posts with that hashtag. In the process, you not only pique the interest of your audience over the event, you also increase your overall social media engagement.
From behind the scenes to actual coverage of the event, a lot of content will be generated around important events. Adding hashtags with posts associated with such content will push for more outreach and engagement around such content.
7. Mix and match broad/general hashtags and narrow/specific hashtags
There are certain hashtags which are very broad and general in relation to your brand while some other hashtags are specific to your brand. Take the example of words like ‘fashion’, ‘photography’ and ‘food’ as broader, more examples. On the other hand, words like ‘Paris street fashion’, ‘beach photography’ and ‘vegan food’ are examples of narrower hashtags.
In order to reach out to the right audience segment, use a combination of both the broad/general and narrow/specific hashtags on social media.
You can try and test out different combinations and ideas for your social media activity. The ones that help you gain traction can be looked at for inspiration. Watch out for hashtags on content posts where there is more engagement on your content, which leads us to the next point.
8. Constantly Track Your Social Media Posts
An important part of every social media activity is to track your social media activity. Employ a good social media analytics and reporting tool such as Unbox Social. With the help of this tool, monitor and track all the important social media metrics.
Which content posts drew more engagement on the platform? Which all hashtags did you use with such social media posts?
All content that drew more engagement to your brand on a given platform should be looked at for inspiration. You need to find out the hashtags that you used for the content that helped you generate the desired level of engagement. Let this inform your social media strategy from hereon.
If you want to make the most of your hashtags on social media, you need to have a good, concrete hashtag strategy. Leveraging hashtags wisely is important for your social media strategy and you can make the most of it by following these steps:
- Placing hashtags at the right place on your social media channels and using the right number of hashtags on each
- Use your products, business, industry, niche to generate a list of appropriate hashtags
- Let your audience direct your hashtag strategy by generating hashtags used by your audience
- Take a look at all hashtags that your competitors are putting to use
- Create brand-focused hashtags as well as hashtags for specific campaigns
- Build a buzz around events with event-focused hashtags
- Employ a mix and match of top, general hashtags as well as more specific hashtags to make the most of your content
- Track all your social media content to find out which hashtags are doing well for your brand and which aren’t; let this inform your strategy hereon.