You probably heard about how great hashtags are, especially for social media marketing. But are they really worth it and do they still work? Here are all your questions answered in a simple and comprehensive guide.
What Are Hashtags & Why Do You Need Them?
To put it simply, hashtags are kind of like keywords, but for social media platforms. They help your posts get discovered easier providing you with extra exposure. If you use hashtags, you can connect with people who otherwise wouldn’t even consider you or your business as something they could relate to or find useful.
Moreover, hashtags can help you generate engagement on your posts. It’s much easier to get likes and comments from people who aren’t even following you if you use hashtags in your posts. They are like a trail that guides other users to find your posts. If you are still unconvinced, here are some hashtag statistics:
- By using at least one hashtag in your Instagram posts, you can increase engagement by 12.6%.
- Tweets that have hashtags generally get twice more clicks, favorites, retweets, and replies. However, only 24% of all tweets have hashtags.
- The fewer hashtags you use on Facebook, the better your engagement will be. But using one hashtag is still better than having none.
Where Should You Use Them?
To put it simply, using hashtags on every social media platform will bring you positive results. On the other hand, every platform has its own specifics and requires certain “rules” that can make your hashtags more efficient. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Facebook has not disclosed much on how you can make hashtags effective on the social media site, but some users still add a few hashtags to their posts. As mentioned earlier, using one or two hashtags on Facebook is more than enough.
- Twitter allows you to add almost as many hashtags as you want, but using one hashtag like on Facebook is recommended. The best thing about Twitter is that you can easily find trending hashtags by looking at the sidebar.
- Instagram allows you to use up to thirty hashtags in one post. In addition to that, you can use up to ten hashtags on your Stories, which is also very useful. The best number of hashtags for usual posts is nine.
- YouTube’s hashtag power is limited, but you can still use them. Despite this, keep in mind that most of the engagement happens in comment threads.
- Pinterest is probably the worst platform for hashtag usage out of the ones mentioned. Hashtags work only in the pin description and the searchability is quite limited.
Which Hashtags Should You Use?
Using relevant hashtags is crucial for your post to take off. If you use the wrong hashtags, you may end up having less engagement. Of course, the best thing to do is to conduct hashtag research on your topic and see which hashtags get more engagement (more on this later).
But first, you have to understand the three types of hashtags that you can use in your social media marketing campaign:
- General Hashtags: These are the kind of hashtags used by everyone. Both regular users and business accounts use such hashtags promoting their posts. The most popular example is the #Love tag which is currently the most popular hashtag on Instagram. General hashtags can help you get your posts into the mass of many other posts without seeming too promotional.
- Industry Hashtags: These hashtags are related to your specific industry. For example, if you own a makeup brand, some of the hashtags that you can use along with #Makeup are #RedLipstick, #FakeEyelashes, and #PinkPowder among others. Such hashtags help you get into the more niche topics and get through to your audience looking for posts in specific subcategories.
- Branded Hashtags: These hashtags are the ones used by brands and include both brand names and slogans. For instance, Nike’s branded hashtags would be #Nike and #JustDoIt. Such hashtags are great for running campaigns and encouraging user-generated content. Your followers can reach you by using such hashtags in their posts and you can interact with them on such posts to establish a better relationship. There are also different tools such as Heyo that can help you create contests for social media to go along with your branded hashtags for generating UGC.
All of these hashtag types are amazing for improving your engagement. If used right, they can be a great way to get more exposure and even encourage UGC that you can interact with. Just remember to use all three types so that you don’t get caught only in one group.
How to Do Hashtag Research?
Before starting your social media campaign on any platform, do your research to ensure that you know which hashtags are the best for your content. You can do this in two ways:
- Simply go to your chosen platform and start typing a hashtag in the search. You will instantly get suggestions for the most popular hashtags.
- Use special tools such as Hashtagify or Tagboard to get the most out of hashtag data. Such tools can give you suggestions based on various factors.
After you find out which hashtags are the best for your topic, you can start using them to promote your posts. Remember to change them once in a while, so that a different audience gets to see your content rather than targeting only one particular group.
At the same time, try starting your own hashtag movements. Create your own hashtags and make them catchy and extremely relevant. Going viral with the help of hashtags is very possible, so you shouldn’t dismiss such an opportunity.
Try to participate in trending hashtags as much as possible. Holiday hashtags are also a great way to get the word out about your business. Check trending hashtags regularly, especially on Twitter. In fact, there is even a feature on this platform that allows you to set up what kind of trending hashtags you want to get depending on your location and interests.
Lastly, don’t overuse hashtags. There is absolutely no need in #tagging #every #word and you will only seem immature that way. On some social media platforms such as Instagram, you can post your hashtags in a comment under the post rather than including them into the caption – and they will still work.
All in all, hashtags are definitely worth using in your social media posts and other content as they help you get more exposure and get discovered easier. Take notes while reading this article and start implementing the hashtag technique in your online marketing campaign.