A hashtag is a small but mighty creature. Born in Twitter in 2007, hashtags are now everywhere. Some thought they’re just frills, but now you know better: Hashtags can expand your reach and boost your bottom line.
So how do you get the most out of hashtags in your social media marketing? Read on for answers to:
- How do hashtags work?
- What words should be used for hashtags?
- How long should hashtags be?
- Where do you put them?
- Do they really bring results?
Get ready to heat up your socials with hot hashtags!
What are hashtags? How do hashtags work?
Hashtags are words or phrases preceded by a hash symbol (#). They are used on social media to literally tag (or index) a post. When someone searches using that word or phrase, that tagged post will appear among the results.
When your post or tweet is among the top results, there’s a higher chance people will read your post. Then, a reader could:
- React or tap the heart,
- Retweet or share,
- Follow your page,
- Click a link or the call to action (CTA) button.
Engagement happens with (1), (2), and (3). This means higher search rankings. More people will see your post, and it becomes a cycle.
Action (4) gives you a lead who can later become a customer.
Doing (5) leads readers to your website or landing page. It’s your chance to detail the benefits of buying or subscribing – hope they do just that!
(By the way, hashtags are just a part of your post or tweet. It’s only one aspect of your entire marketing strategy. If your concern is writing copy, someone’s trained to do that job for you behind the scenes: the #CopyNinjas.)
How do you create hashtags?
Don’t just use any word if you want hashtags to work for you. Here are some “rules” and best practices.
First, use alphanumeric characters for your hashtag. You can:
- Use both lowercase and uppercase letters,
- Not use punctuations, symbols, special characters, or spaces,
- Use a phrase but remove the spaces.
Here are some samples:
#hashtag or #hothashtag or #8HotHashtags
#socmed or #socialmediamarketing101 or #SocialStrategy
What words should you use?
Second, use hashtags that are relevant to your content, brand, or product. Never use a trending hashtag if it’s not relevant. That will turn people off and turn them away.
Third, use the right keywords. Find out what keywords your target audience searches with. It’s called keyword research – but don’t get intimidated by “research”. Use keyword research tools to help you (Semrush, Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, KeywordTool.io, etc.).
Fourth, use what’s already bringing results. Re-use your past hashtags that brought you a lot of engagements. Peek into what leading influencers and your top competitors are using effectively. Pick the relevant ones and improve on them if possible. (There’s no exclusivity to hashtags, but never violate any copyrights or trademarks. Being the good guy will pay off in the long run. Follow common ethics, play fair, and use only white hat marketing strategies.)
More about hashtags…
Hashtags are really power packed players that can swing your social media marketing strategy to success. There’s still much to learn though, like:
- Use general keywords for a broader reach? Or use specific keywords?
- How long should your hashtags be?
- What’s the best number of hashtags to include?
- How can you ride on trending topics?
- Should you use your competitor’s hashtags?
You’ve already gobbled a meal, so we’re saving these for a bit later. Watch out for part two of this article – it’s just ‘round the bend!