Hashtags: What are They, and How to Use Them Effectively?
If you’ve ever wondered why people use hashtags at the end of their posts, you’ll find your answer here.
Hashtags are among the essential tools that play crucial roles for digital marketers, social media marketers, small business owners, and individuals building their unique personal brands.
This article discusses hashtags, why you should use them, and how to use them effectively in your business and personal branding.
What is a Hashtag?
A hashtag is a word, phrase, or number preceded by the pound symbol (#). It is used on social media platforms to group or organize related content, enabling users to find and engage with posts that share a common topic. For example, when you click on #digitalmarketing, you’ll be taken to a page showing posts with the hashtag, allowing you to explore content with information about digital marketing.
Hashtags have become an integral component of online marketing toolkits since they were first used on Twitter in 2007 by Chris Messina.
Why Use Hashtags?
Hashtags have become vital to increasing the visibility and engagement of content on social media platforms, as they make it easy to reach a targeted audience. As a result, businesses now use hashtags to promote their products and services and share relevant content and information with their target audience.
Social activists also use hashtags to raise awareness for a cause they deem worth fighting for, making them attain global awareness with ease. The #blacklivesmatter, #metoo, #fakenews, etc. are some of the most popular hashtags that drew the world’s attention to a cause and helped solve the underlying problems.
However, I understand you’re wondering how hashtags can benefit you and your business. There are many ways hashtags can benefit your business, from increased online visibility and engagement to increased leads and sales. Here are other things you can do with a hashtag:
- Add additional context to your posts on social media
- Lend voice to a cause that affects your target audience
- Stand out from your competitors by creating a unique branded hashtag, etc.
How to Find the Best Hashtags to Use
While popular hashtags can propel your posts to many people’s screens, it’s important always to assess their relevance to your business goals. Using a popular hashtag irrelevant to your goals is like a farmer casting seeds on a concrete floor; they’ll die off as soon as possible. However, with relevant hashtags, your posts can get visibility that can attract high-quality leads to your business. Here’s how you can find the best hashtags to use for your business posts:
Research Trending Topics
One of the easiest ways to find great hashtags to promote your brand, product, or service is by researching trending topics in your niche. Depending on your location, the people you follow, and the posts you make, platforms like Twitter can recommend daily trends for you. The Explore page on Instagram is another place to find trending conversations in your niche.
Once you’ve found trending topics in your niche or industry, study the most popular posts to know which hashtags they use.
Use Social Listening Tools
Social listening tools like Sprout Social, Hootsuite, etc., can help you identify the best keywords to use by tracking conversations in your industry. They use your brand terms and phrases to search conversations your target audience and competitors are having, enabling you to pick out the hashtags they’re using and the most common terms in their posts.
These social listening tools also help you track the success of a hashtag by displaying its reach and the number of times it has been used. You can also use them to assess the success of your unique hashtags, as they can help you track mentions, engagement, and audience sentiment.
Study Your Competitors
Another great place to find successful hashtags for your business is on your competitors’ social profiles. You can research your competitor’s profile to identify their most successful posts. Study and adequately analyze them, identifying the hashtags and common terms they use.
If you study at least ten of the most popular posts from your top ten competitors, you’ll identify the best hashtags that will work for your brand.
Find Related Hashtags
If you already have a few hashtags you’re working with and they’re successful, you can widen your reach by using hashtags related to them. Oftentimes, you will find related hashtags that introduce your posts to a more targeted audience, as they’re not as popular as the key hashtags.
You can find related hashtags by searching for the main hashtags and tracking the conversations. Platforms like LinkedIn have buttons to discover new hashtags related to the ones you’re following.
Use a Hashtag Generator
Hashtag generators are AI tools that create custom hashtags based on the text and image in the content you’re trying to publish. These tools are often familiar with the platform’s algorithm and understand how hashtags work on the chosen platforms. Therefore, they use the insights gained to create hashtags for your posts, which you can track later to see their success.
How to Use Hashtags Effectively
Here are vital tips you can leverage to use hashtags effectively for your brand visibility and business results:
Use Relevant Hashtags
Hashtags are audience magnets; when you use the wrong ones, you attract the wrong audience. Using hashtags that are directly related to your content lets you attract the right audience and makes conversion easier.
The idea of using hashtags for business promotion isn’t to reach as many people as possible, but to reach as many of the right people as possible.
Choose Specific Hashtags
The more specific you are with your hashtags, the more successful they will be. Specificity allows you to reach your target audience with ease. Broad or generic terms can get you enough visibility; however, specific hashtags get you a more targeted and qualified audience.
Limit the Number of Hashtags
When it comes to hashtags, the fewer you have in a post, the better. Too many hashtags will not only make your post visually unappealing but will also lead to the social media platform categorizing it as spam, driving it down the page and away from people’s eyes.
While the number of hashtags you can use on a post varies by platform, limiting them to a reasonable number is always safe. On most social platforms, two to five hashtags will give you better results than a thousand hashtags.
Create Branded Hashtags
While using industry hashtags can get your content in front of your target audience, using unique, branded hashtags differentiates you from your competitors.
Therefore, you should create unique hashtags that represent your brand or the specific campaigns you’re running. It will help you build recognition faster, and when your customers use it, it becomes easier to track their posts, reviews, and complaints.
Stay Updated on Trending Topics
Trending events and topics provide you with a good opportunity to promote your content. Look out for industry trends relevant to your content and incorporate popular hashtags related to the events to drive visibility for your brand.
Monitor the Performance of Your Hashtags
You can maximize the performance of hashtags in your content by consistently monitoring them and optimizing them to produce the needed results. Some hashtags will generate more engagement and reach than others. Studying these hashtags and how they impact your content will help you maximize your hashtag strategy to increase visibility.
Hashtags can significantly improve your marketing results if you know how to use them effectively. You can increase visibility for your content, generate more quality leads, and increase sales significantly if you apply hashtags the right way. Hopefully, this article has given you insights on how to use hashtags to improve your marketing results.