If you’re new to social media marketing and hashtags, then keep reading because I’m going to cover how hashtags work, where hashtags work, how many hashtags to use in your posts and how to find the right hashtags for you.
What do you first think of when you hear the word Hashtag?
It’s fair to say that hashtags have become a bit of joke with comedy sketches like the one below making fun of how some people are using them in everyday conversations!
However, they serve an important purpose if you’re serious about using Social Media to grow your business. If you’re using them correctly more people will be able to find your content, engage with it, and follow you!
HOW DO HASHTAGS WORK?
First, a hashtag is the # symbol
Technically called an octothorp, by placing a ‘#’ at the beginning of a word or a string of words a hashtag allows that post to be indexed and searched.
For example, let’s say I create a post on Instagram that says, “#SocialMediaForBusiness is fun!”
If anyone types “#SocialMediaForBusiness” into their Instagram search bar my post would show up in the list of results which, in turn, means I have the potential to find a new follower.
Hashtags amplify your brand, helps reach your target audience, get your content found, improve your SEO, and more. All of which allows any brand to be easily found by their potential customers and fans.
WHERE DO HASHTAGS WORK?
Hashtags originated on Twitter over 10 years ago, but they have since migrated to nearly every social media platform.
Just because you CAN use hashtags on nearly every platform, doesn’t mean you that you SHOULD.
So where should you use hashtags?
Twitter and Instagram are 2 platforms where a hashtag strategy is absolutely essential and has been proven to be one of the best ways to grow an authentic audience
LinkedIn has been slower to embrace hashtags but their popularity and use is increasing whereas on Facebook they have never really taken off. However, as of the beginning of July 2020 Facebook have announced they are building out capability around the use of hashtags so its one to watch.
HOW MANY HASHTAGS SHOULD YOU USE?
As with everything in social media, there is no definitive answer and I always recommend you experiment to see what works best for you audience.
LinkedIn: I use no more than 3 hashtags. It is possible to include more but a mixture of what the algorithm prefers and general etiquette on the platform means that between 3 & 5 is the optimum number.
Instagram: you can use up to 30 hashtags in your Instagram posts and 10 in your Instagram stories but, as I’ve already mentioned, it doesn’t mean you should use the full amount on every single post.
Twitter: Space is of the essence on this platform so one is generally sufficient, definitely no more than 2
Facebook: Up until mid 2020 the recommendation was to avoid using hashtags unless it tied to a specific awareness day, special event or other campaign you’re highlighting. With new functionality rolling out my advice now is to start to incorporate 3-5 hashtags or more.
As with so much else quality is better than quantity so take your time to find the best hashtags each time. Try to include hashtags with a range of popularity in your posts.
This leads us to the question of how to find the right hashtags
HOW DO YOU FIND THE RIGHT HASHTAGS ON INSTAGRAM?
Hashtag research can take time, but it doesn’t have to consume your life.
Here are a few tips to make the process quick and easy.
First, put together a list of hashtags for each day of the week. Many of the daily hashtags can be added to any type of post you create (#MondayMotivation) while others provide you with ideas for content (#ThirstyThursday) for example. You can download my list of 84 daily hashtags here.
Second, leverage the power of National Awareness days. There are a number of websites that list awareness days but I personally like the free version that GoWithThePro put together.
Third, use the platform. I’ve put together a short video (see below) showing how to find relevant hashtags using the Instagram desktop version. Use the steps in the video and keep a list of the results to copy and paste into your posts when needed.
Demystifying hashtags for your business is something you’ll need to test, measure, and try again, like all things in marketing.
Without them, your social media post can get lost in a sea of content, but with them, you’ve increased your chances of discovery.
Remember that using hashtags isn’t enough; you need to know what kind of hashtags suit your business and how to implement them in your social media strategy to give you the best results. See my previous blog for more info.
If you’d like help building a social media roadmap for your business or are interested in my training or 'done with you' packages' get in touch today