Hashtags! The ever mysterious hashtags. I get questions from clients about hashtags more than any other topic regarding social media marketing. So few know how to use them to their full potential. They can be quite powerful, and can generate a lot of extra traffic for your posts, so you don’t want to forget about them or use them improperly.
To get you on the right track, I’ve compiled a crash course of some things you must know about hashtags if you are doing social media marketing.
What are Hashtags?
In 2007, Twitter introduced hashtags as a way to index keywords, and help users search a particular topic. They can be a very useful for finding relevant content for yourself, and helping others find YOUR content and increasing your exposure. Not long after, other platforms adopted hashtags and they have become commonplace.
In short, hashtags sort and organize the wealth of content on social media sites. This will help interested users find your content, whether they follow you or not, and widen your circle of exposure.
How to Choose Your Hashtags
This is a common question, a relevant one. There are limits on how many hashtags you can use, so you don’t want to get carried away. It’s important that you choose wisely. Here’s a guideline to get you started.
- Local Hashtags
If your business has local clientele, you’ll want to start with local hashtags. Research the surrounding towns and counties and figure out which hashtags are the most popular in your area. Use 2-5 of these in each post. This is a great way to get in front of your local community, and start building some brand awareness.
- Genre specific
Pick out 2-5 hashtags that reference what your post is about. For example, I might use the following for this post: #seo #socialmediamarketing #socialmediatips. These hashtags are clear and specific to what this post is about, and will attract users who are interested in these topics.
Lastly, add a few hashtags that are specific to your business or industry. This just helps users find you specifically, if they want to. For example, I usually tag my posts with #webdesignagency #coloradowebdesign #tandemdesignlab.
Lastly, use a tool like hashtagify.me to find the hashtags with the most traffic, and that are the most relevant. You’ll want to use a few broad hashtags (think #marketing #parenting or #construction), but don’t limit yourself to only the high traffic hashtags. If your hashtag has too much traffic, it’s possible your post will get lost. So balance it out with a few high volume hashtags, and more focused, lower volume hashtags (think #twinparent, #parentingtweens or #marketingforsmallbusinesses).
Where to Put Hashtags?
When hashtags were new, it was common to see hashtags right in the body of the content. For example, you’d see posts like this:
Wow! Look at this #superawesome #blogpost I just wrote about #seo and #hashtags!
This method misses the spirit of hashtags, and ignores the end user. Hashtags are for the bots to find your content, not for the users to READ. Putting them right in the body of the text decreasing the legibility of your post, and can cause users to lose interest faster.
Put your hashtags at the end of the post, or in the first comment. Either way works, just keep them separated from your content.
How Many Hashtags to Use
Choose the right amount of hashtags. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags, and they are often minimized and hidden from view. This makes them less intrusive. Twitter and Facebook’s hashtags are more obvious, and therefore should be used more sparingly. I’d suggest less hashtags for Twitter and Facebook.
Follow Relevant Hashtags
Lastly, follow hashtags yourself. On Instagram, search for a particular hashtags, and you’ll see a blue “FOLLOW” button at the top. By following a hashtag, you’ll see other posts with this hashtag. This will help you understand the content on each tag and how others are using them. You will learn more about your audience, have opportunities to engage with them, whether you follow them or not.
Now that you’ve learned a few things, hopefully you are ready to get started doing some social media marketing for your small business. If not, we can help with that! Consider letting us coach you, leave the heavy lifting up to us, and let us manage the social media for your Summit County business. Click here to learn more about social media marketing in Summit County Colorado.