How often do you use hashtags?
Hashtags are an essential part of social media marketing. They allow people to find content easily and quickly. Hashtags also help search engines index your site better.
Nowadays, there are many on social media that are ending it with a hashtag.
You are probably not new to the word hashtag and have used it a few (or many) times in your posts #justlikethis.
What are hashtags?
A hashtag is a word preceded by the hash symbol (#) that is used in social media, web content management systems (CMS), online forums, and blogs to categorize information into topics.
Hashtags are short words or phrases preceded by a “#” symbol that shows topics on social media platforms like Twitter.
But do you ponder on how effective – or powerful hashtags are? Does adding hashtags really add value to your post?
Why use hashtags?
Did you know a hashtag is a brand awareness tool? YES!
Whether you’re a technology startup company trying to reach a bigger market or a B2 sales representative who persuades buyers on social media, adding a hashtag plan on your social media strategy matter.
It brings your business closer to the spotlight, to being noticed, to being liked, to being followed, to being retweeted, to being shared, to being subscribed to, and to get leads.
There are other factors to consider about brand awareness.
But if you aim to make your content get seen by more, these hashtags alone can do wonders.
Another study reveals that Instagram posts that have hashtags received over 70% more likes than those without hashtags.
No matter on what social media platforms you post your hashtags, think about why you are there instead of just haphazardly tagging a hashtag because you can.
Users who are searching for particular content can type a hashtag in the search function and the social network will display social media posts that carry the corresponding hashtag.
If your hashtag and post receive high community engagement from your audience, chances are, the social media platform will show it on top of the feed. That raises more chances of engagement.
More users will land on your social media account when they click your post.
The Hashtag Dilemma
Sadly, however, not all hashtags will give you that benefit, especially when they are not properly and strategically done.
One good example is the hashtag you saw in the second paragraph of this article.
Did you notice it? #justlikethis sounds just about right, but how much impact does it really make?
How many businesses search for that type of hashtag?
Some argue that more specific hashtags have better chances of showing up in the algorithm and thus making your posts visible.
It makes sense, right?
It also makes sense to use general hashtags, as they are often the most popular.
Hashtags use and your business reality
One of the hashtag practices is that the hashtag you use boils down to your page’s “age.”
If you are just establishing your brand’s presence on social media with less than 300 followers, using less popular hashtags (we’re talking about 500k posts or less, relatively) would be a better choice.
But as a tactic, because your audience is hyper-niche, leverage the use of broad on-topic hashtags, again on-topic, to gain more exposure. More on this hashtag tips below.
As you grow your reach, you can add more popular hashtags to your posts while still keeping them within your niche.
How many hashtags to use on social media?
You need to understand that hashtags work differently depending on which social network you post.
And the number of “acceptable” hashtags for every platform also varies.
Here is a list of the number of hashtags of the social media platforms commonly used by B2B companies:
- Instagram hashtags: up to 30 super-relevant hashtags per post, including the ones you add in the comment section after posting the image.
- Twitter hashtags: 1-3 hashtags
- LinkedIn hashtags: 1-3 hashtags
- Pinterest hashtags: up to 20 hashtags
- Facebook hashtags: One or a few
- Google My Business (GMB): 0, using hashtag on GMB is irrelevant
Should your company use all these hashtags?
Looking at a wall of hashtags makes your social media post look super spammy – and hard to read.
Well, the principle the more the merrier may not fully apply. A social media post with 30 spam-looking hashtags may not do any better than a post with 1-2 relevant hashtags.
Also, note that Instagram voids hashtags beyond the maximum number of 30.
As cliche as it is, quality over quantity rules.
So, if a single hashtag fits your social media content, use it; if it seems contrived, don’t.
5 essential tips on how to use hashtags
Since it is possible to reach a larger audience with hashtags, understanding which hashtags to use in your content becomes crucial to the growth of your social networks.
There are steps you can do to make sure you are using quality hashtags on your content strategy. Using it well on your post can help you get more likes, followers, and comments in no time!
There are things you can do to make sure you are putting quality hashtags in your post.
Hashtag strategy tips
1. Search for best performing hashtags.
Your hashtags should always apply to your content.
Before posting anything on social media, identify your niche. A niche is that one category or field that you would like your business to be known in or you want to dominate. Is it database management, industrial marketing, HR enterprise technology? website design?
After deciding on your niche, do a hashtag search. Look at how hashtags are performing – number of likes or engagement, and number of people that used it. If you are in an industry that may be hyper-niche, the hashtag fundamentals are the same.
If you already have a list of hashtags, you can compare the number of likes/engagement that your posts get on them with the number of likes posts with trending hashtags get.
Does yours come close? If not, you might need to let go of these hashtags and replace them with new ones.
(Which brings us to the second point.)
2. Always discover new industry and community hashtags
Consistency and coherence are important when putting your content on social media.
For hashtags, however, freshness matters more to be in front of a new audience.
Besides, using the same hashtags in your post doesn’t just put you under the suspicious spam radar of Twitter (or Instagram’s) algorithm, but it can give your followers the impression that you’re just posting the “same old thing.” Hence, using new hashtags is important.
You can search for new hashtags in two ways:
- Use an online tool to search for related hashtags. You just input a specific hashtag in the search box and it will generate related keywords you can use alternatively with your active hashtags. Some tools you can explore: Raven tools, SE ranking, and Serpstat.
- Do hashtag keyword clustering. Basically, this means grouping your keywords into categories. From a general keyword like “social media,” you can go further by clustering them into five (or more) categories: advertisement, poll, survey, calendar, weekly post, video content. You can start creating hashtags from these categories and build your content around them.
5 types of hashtags categories I recommend:
You can add more categories if you like when you are doing hashtag clustering. But I like to stick to a few that way it is more manageable.
- Branded hashtags: your slogan or your company name, it is unique to you
- Business hashtags: these are niche hashtags, product hashtags, service hashtags or industry hashtags.
- Timely hashtags: Trending hashtags, holiday hashtags, event hashtag
- Geographic hashtags: Location hashtags, geotags
- Fun hashtags: Broad hashtags, creative hashtags
The benefit of clustering your hashtags into categories is that you don’t have to recreate your list, thus saving you time. Who doesn’t want that???!!? Just copy and paste it.
3. Diversify your hashtags
Don’t let specific business hashtags prevent you from being creative and diverse.
Not everyone will have an interest in #erp, but there might be people who are typing #inventorymanagement #supplychainmanagement, #warehousemanagement #manufacturingdistribution in the search box.
You can reach a wider audience with a variety of relevant hashtag suggestions associated with your target audience that way.
But if thinking outside the box isn’t your favorite zone, no worries.
You can get ideas from other sources, which the next point will tackle.
4. Know what your customers and competitors are saying
Are you missing out on something relevant? The best way to know is to keep track of how your competitors are performing.
This does not mean, though, that you devote all your time spying on them. As simple as knowing what their top posts are for the month and the hashtags they’ve used can keep you on track for fresh ideas.
Tools like Fanpage Karma can do all the analyzing for you by ranking your competitor’s hashtags based on the popularity of posts and the number of user engagements.
In the same way, find out what your customers are buzzing about.
Start by collating information from user-generated content. Look at key phrases and most commonly used words in their queries or comments and put those on a spreadsheet.
Every time you create a social media post, consider using this information in your marketing campaign. Should you use personalized (based on your research) or a broad hashtag?
Either way, you’re sure to target the specific needs of your customers. For example, if most inquiry is about “blogging tips,” you can use #blog #tips #blogger #FAQ #seoblogging as hashtags for your post (supposing that your content talks about optimizing blog keywords.)
For better chances of visibility, follow this hashtag formula:
popular hashtag + niche hashtag + branded hashtag (if you have one)
5. Schedule your posts and plan your hashtags ahead
Most quality hashtags, to be effective, need to be put on a calendar for use.
There are seasonal hashtags that you may need to use along with your seasonal posts. For instance, “holidaygiveaway,” or “freewebinar.”
Have a list of popular hashtags that worked for your posts in the past, or record the seasonal trending hashtags of the current year.
Scheduling is not just the best way to save time, but it also allows you to be more strategic in your approach to content and hashtag management.
Hashtags can help B2B companies connect directly with their audience, reach a wider audience, increase engagement rate, boost the visibility of posts and branded content on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram.
But they’re not just for marketing purposes–using them correctly is also important in order to get more followers and likes!