You or your business might be using social media platforms as part of its social media strategy. You could also be using hashtags to help you achieve your social media goals and boost your brand’s social media engagement and user engagement as well.
The purpose of this post is to break down the basics of effectively using hashtags on social media and also reveal why you should be using them. We intend to make you understand
- Finding hashtags that will work best for your brand
- Why using only popular hashtags isn’t the right approach
Lets us address the first basic question, to begin with.
What is HASHTAG?
The pound (#) symbol or octothorpe on your keyboard, was initially used to mark numbers. Chris Messina is credited for having invented and used the first hashtags in the summer of 2007. Chris, the web marketing specialist walked into Twitter’s offices with an idea. Because of the platform’s brevity, he suggested the company start using the pound symbol to group related Tweets.
Ever since the use of hashtags along with its reach and effectiveness has only grown exponentially. Hashtags now connect social media content on a specific topic, event, theme, or conversation. Apart from this, they also make it easier to discover posts around those specific topics, because hashtags aggregate all social media content with that same hashtag.
Hashtags have grown beyond Twitter and now are effective on other social media platforms too.
- They always start with # but they won’t work if you use spaces, punctuation, or symbols.
- The accounts should be public for hashtagged content you have written wouldn’t be seen by non-followers.
- Do not string too many words together. The best hashtags tend to be relatively short and easy to recall and remember.
- Using relevant and specific hashtags is recommended. Otherwise, it will be hard to fund and wouldn’t be liked by other social media users.
- Do not make hashtags look spammy. Limit the number of hashtags you use.
Hashtags and their usage:
i. Increased engagement with your followers: Incorporating hashtags in your posts lets you join or participate in a conversation happening on that social media platform and makes your posts visible in the conversation. Rest assured, it can lead to greater engagement, boosting your brand’s social media engagement through likes, shares, comments, and new followers.
ii. Opportunity to build your brand: Hashtag can be an effective way to promote business and drive the conversation.
iii. A way to show support for social issues: You can mobilize or rally behind an important cause or issue. E.g. #EachforEqual and #IWD2020 were used across social media platforms, including LinkedIn, on International Women’s Day. Brands or organizations also can create a branded hashtag that shows its connection to a social issue.
iv. Add context to a social media post: In the 280 character limit world of Twitter, or even Instagram or Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn for that matter, longer captions aren’t always the most effective. Using a hashtag can be a simple way to contextualize what you’re talking about, without using up valuable characters or writing repetitive captions. Hashtags promote less is more concept.
v. Help your target audience find you: Users often follow hashtags and other users too on Instagram and LinkedIn. Popular hashtags can be another way to help new users find your brand. If you have used #travel on your Instagram posts, someone who is following that particular hashtag will see your recent post in their feed. Likewise, you could gain some new followers. Hashtags also promote user engagement.
6 ways to find the best hashtags to use:
Do a little research to find hashtags specific to your business, your brand, your sector, your industry, or your audience.
1. Monitor Social media influencers and competitors
If you want to strengthen your social media strategy, do a competitive analysis on social media, and gather intel about any relevant influencers or your competitor within your brand’s niche.
Note the hashtags they use most often and how many hashtags they use in each of their posts. It lets you learn how your competitors’ engagement with your shared target audience and which keywords they tend to use.
2. Use Hashtagify.me
Hashtwagify.me is a tool that lets you find the best Twitter or Insta hashtags for your brand. You can search and see how popular any hashtag is with this tool.
3. Know which hashtags are trending
An app called RiteTag lets you type your social media caption into the text bar and upload the photo you will pair with your caption. Based on your content, RiteTag generates trending hashtag suggestions. It throws the best hashtags to get your post seen immediately and also the hashtags your post has seen over time.
4. Social Media Listening Tool
Hootsuite assists your brand to use search streams to discover which hashtags are the best for all the social network it uses. Search Streams make it easy to see which hashtags are the most popular and most effective.
5. Related Hashtags
If you are an expert with hashtags and know which hashtags are working well for your brand, also look into related hashtags. These might be a little more specific than the popular hashtags you’re already using, which could help you connect with a more targeted audience.
The related hashtags on Instagram show just above the ‘Top’ and ‘Recent’ tabs when in the Explore section of Instagram. As for LinkedIn, you will find hashtag recommendations after clicking on a hashtag. You could also choose the ‘Discover more hashtags’ buttons after clicking on the ellipsis.
6. Analyze the hashtags that were successful on past posts
Keeping a tab on the hashtags you have used previously in past posts helps. Analyze which of the posts have been more popular and study is there is a trend with the hashtags you have used. If you see the same hashtags in popular posts, use them in future posts too.
MOST POPULAR HASHTAGS:
The most popular hashtags out there are not necessarily the best hashtags. As a parting shot, we give you the list of the most popular Instagram hashtags used globally as of March 2020.
- #love (1.7B posts)
- #instagood (1.1B posts)
- #photooftheday (763M posts)
- #beautiful (639M posts)
- #happy (564M posts)
- #picoftheday (551M posts)
- #photography (537M posts)