Do you have a hashtag strategy? While there’s nothing wrong with casually using a hashtag, having a solid strategy behind your hashtag can bring real results for you and your brand. Let’s look at the how’s and why’s behind using hashtags in your social media and how you can start benefiting from them with your social marketing!
Why use hashtags?
Consider hashtags the glue that holds social conversations and ideas together.
Clicking on a hashtag can provide a wealth of information and a sea of potential connections. Here’s a few ways that hashtags can be used:
- Real-time interaction with friends, fans, and influencers
- Re-enforce your area of expertise
- Connect with other people interested in the same topic
- Create a social media campaign
- Brand awareness
- Catch the trends – daily, weekly, or holiday
- Find valuable UGC (user generated content)
- Rock out live events such as conferences
- Build out a social contest
How to build a social media hashtag strategy
Coming up with a unique hashtag for your brand can be a significant differentiator to your competition. Certain hashtags may stimulate engagement better than other marketing methods. It is important that your hashtags be associated with your brand and reinforce brand equity.
When you’re a brand, conference, or whatever you’re representing, tell people what your hashtag is so they can use it. Ask people to share their favorite moments with the hashtag. It’s really fun for people!
For a campaign hashtag, use the name of your current marketing campaign.
For a campaign tag, again, make it a word or phrase that is unique to your short- term contest or promotion. Do your research. If they’re already popular on a few social sites – like Instagram and Twitter – use a different campaign tag.
Promote your campaign hashtags as a method for your customers to engage with you and your other customers throughout the duration of your special offer. For example, include the use of your hashtag as a requirement to enter your contest.
Hallmarks of successful hashtags
- Easy to spell.
- Easy to remember.
- Doesn’t spell something awkward or potentially embarrassing.
- Make other people want to join in. If the hashtag is only about you, it limits other people being interested in using it.
Make sure to check hashtags to make sure that they aren’t being used for another topic or reason. You don’t want to hijack someone else’s content or jump into something inappropriate accidentally.
Hashtags should be relevant to your audience and your content
Using hashtags that connect with the right people is important. If you’re not sure what a hashtag means make sure you click through a couple of posts or ask someone what it means.
You may have several different topics that you talk about and these would have separate hashtag groups.
Where should you use hashtags?
Hashtags should be like a sprinkle of goodness on your posts, not the main attraction. Hashtags typically are best at the end of the post but sometimes if a word or small phrase is in the middle, you can add a hashtag.
- Topsy – Provides great data including influencers, links, tweets, and videos.
- Tagboard – uses hashtags to search for and collect public social media within seconds of being posted to networks like Twitter and Facebook. I love that you can interact with the tweets and Facebook posts on Tagboard.
- Social Mention – is a social media search engine that searches user-generated content such as blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, and videos
- TweetReach – Great info on who is using the hashtag on Twitter.
- TagDef – You can find the definitions and popular hashtags here.
- Tags for Likes – A smartphone app for grabbing groups of hashtags. Handy for Instagram!
- ashtagif.me – Lots of great information here on people using the hashtag as well as related hashtags.
Join the conversation!
On all the platforms that hashtags are supported, you can click the hashtag to open up a stream of conversation that’s only about that hashtag. Social media listening is a great way to find fans of your brand and influencers talking about you.
Hashtag strategies in the wild
Using the most relevant and effective hashtags can be the difference between Instagram success and failure. If you want to get found, you need to place your content in front of people actively looking for it. This is exactly what hashtags do for you.
How can you find hashtags that make sense for your business?
Write down the search terms or phrases people use when talking about your company, industry or niche.
Go to Instagram and type your hashtag into search. Take a look at the number of posts within that search. Are there an abundance of posts and will it be difficult to capture audience attention? You want to find a hashtag that’s active, but not overly active.
Now look at the related hashtags that Instagram offers when you run your search. Look at the number of posts found in each one and determine which hashtags will be most effective in getting your message out.
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