“Can you imagine the state of social media marketing in 2018 without hashtags? Not only do hashtags help social media users organise and categorise content, but they’re also one of the driving forces behind some of today’s best marketing campaigns.” – Sprout Social
#Hashtags have gained immense popularity in the past few years. Your audience loves adding hashtags to their captions and sometimes tend to emotionalise them as well. Many have now started including hashtags in their daily conversations, SMS chats and wedding announcements as well.
Now the big question is – has your brand been using hashtags? If yes, then does it use the correct hashtags? And more importantly, have the hashtags been useful in bringing a positive change to your brand’s digital image?
While these may be tough questions to answer, it is essential that you check how you are using your hashtags, and if it is making a positive impact on your social media marketing campaign.
“Instagram posts with at least one hashtag receive 12.6% more engagement than posts excluding them.”
#Powerful is a word I would associate with the term ‘hashtags’. They help increase your post’s organic reach and are considered as a quick navigation tool on most social media platforms. Hashtags help direct your audience to the content they are looking for and are considered more effective than a search bar.
Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise that if not used appropriately, your social media post could suffer most, especially in the forms of a low engagement rate and an even lesser reach. Used correctly, you can gain the right kind of audience and an approx. 20-40% rise in engagement.
Now if you are unsure about your current style of using hashtags or have no idea how to use hashtags for your social media marketing, fret not as we are here to help you.
Here are five simple ways to help you figure out how to use hashtags in the right manner for your social media marketing campaign:-
- Be specific
Being a social media marketer, you have to be precise with your hashtags to reach the correct audience. Use hashtags that your brand best relates to and you will see a sudden increase in your engagement rate.
For example, Domino’s Pizza uses the hashtags #ilovebread, #cheesepizza and #pizzatime on Instagram, which leads them to an average engagement of approx. 15,000 likes.
Also, opting for branded hashtags over generic ones is much recommended. According to a study, 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded and ruling the roost currently. Branded hashtags give a unique identity to your social media page and increase your chances to be discovered by your potential audience quickly.
- Do your research
Before you begin writing content for your social media campaign, always do quick keyword research for your brand. A short study on what keywords work best for your brand is vital for your future hashtag content.
We also want our social media posts to be unique and stand out enough to ensure our audience takes notice. Therefore, it is crucial to observe what other brands are doing and thus ensure that your brand is not using the same hashtags for any campaigns.
You can also damage your brand with careless tagging. We, therefore, advise you to stay away from controversial hashtags. You need to do proper research before setting any particular hashtag for your brand.
- Use trending hashtags
A trending hashtag is a current topic or a word that has become popular due to its social sharing. They keep changing on a daily basis, according to the latest news announcements globally.
In simpler words, specific topics or words go viral for a short period, with maximum users talking about it on various social media platforms at the same time. Therefore, when you are using a trending hashtag in your content, you automatically cater to a broader audience.
More and more people can see your updates, including your followers and fans. Thus, you need to ensure that trending hashtags are not used randomly, especially when it does not resonate with your brand. If a trending hashtag resonates well with your post or brand, use it to engage with your audience.
An excellent example of this is when Game of Thrones announced their new season in July 2017, full of dragons and drama, and Twitter trended the hashtag #GameOfThrones. At this time, the supermarket chain HyperCITY, through its Twitter feed, took advantage of the trending hashtag and the current season of dragon fruits, and shared a video inviting its audience to a HyperCITY store to own a ‘dragon(fruit)’.
- Do not overuse
Most social media platforms allow you to use a good number of hashtags in your content. However, research suggests that the optimum number of hashtags to use is 11.
Thus, we suggest you avoid overusing your hashtags in a single post as it gives the impression that you are spamming your followers. Don’t try too hard to promote yourself on social media by overusing your hashtags.
- Use hashtags on multiple social media platforms
The concept of using hashtags as content first gained popularity on Twitter. However, it is now entirely reasonable to use hashtags on other social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
Instagram limits the use to 30 hashtags whereas Twitter now allows you to experiment with the hashtags with its recent increased character count. For Pinterest, however, you can currently use only two hashtags in your content piece.
Here are a few additional tips on hashtag etiquette:
- If your hashtag is long, capitalise the first letter of the word so that it is easy to read.
For example, #TrendingHashtagsIndia is much simpler to read, compared to #trendinghashtagsindia.
- Ensure your hashtag resonates well with your brand. Using #like4like as an NGO page is not advisable. Stick to the language that your brand personifies.
- Research on the topic beforehand as most platforms (Instagram & Twitter) have guides available on its usage.
- Do not #hashtag #every #word of your #post. Ideally, 3-4 hashtags per post are perfect.
- Never repeat your hashtags in the same post.
Creating a unique branded hashtag is tough. You must be thinking how to create a hashtag that is unique. Here are a few additional tips on branded hashtags to make your social media marketing strategy a super hit:
- Make a list of different hashtags that you can use for our brand. It can include your brand’s name and tagline as well.
- Check if any other individual or brand is using them.
- Add your set of branded hashtags to your social media page bio.
- Track its momentum and reach, to know more about your audience and what they are looking.
Learning how and when to use hashtags in your campaign holds the key to success in social media marketing. You also need to understand how hashtag engagement can help you gain a broader audience base. To add, it is important to remember that social media is only as useful as your efforts. Be patient and take your time to do it right.