Do hashtags still matter?
One of the most asked questions I get is “what is the point of hashtags and how do I use them?” To start with the first question, hashtags are useful (depending on the platform) in categorising content and making it easier for people to search for certain topics. They can help you follow live events, or breaking news. They are also great for filtering out topics you don’t want to engage with.
No one person or brand owns a hashtag. You can think one up and just start using it. But if you want to use them effectively to grow your following and amplify content, then you need to be more strategic in your hashtag approach.
Let’s look at some general principles for using hashtags across your social media channels:
- Curate your hashtags for each channel. So, for Twitter, use 2 to 3 in a tweet, and include them contextually in your content. On Instagram, you can use many more, but don’t go overboard. LinkedIn has functional hashtags, so feel free to include 1 or 2 in your post. And while Facebook has functional hashtags, the jury is out on whether or not they are actually effective in amplifying your content.
- Use a mix of trending, general and brand hashtags. For example, I might use #possumdigital, but as it’s not a widely used hashtag, I might also want to use something more general like #socialmedia or #digitalmarketing.
- Keep your hashtag simple and easy to remember and use. You don’t want followers misspelling a well thought out hashtag only to lose the opportunity to generate effective conversation.
- Avoid using hashtags that don’t relate directly to your content. Social channel algorithms are smarter than us in this respect, so just because a hashtag is trending, doesn’t mean you should force it onto content that is irrelevant.
- Mix it up! Don’t use the same batch of hashtags every single time. Just like you need more than one channel to market your business, you need more than one group of hashtags to get your content seen by different people.
My best advice is to come up with a list of hashtags that you can use and swap out on your posts across social media channels. Make sure you keep it updated with trending ones, and remove any that may get banned or are no longer being used widely
Using hashtags to grow your audience
Everyone wants more Twitter and Instagram followers. Whether you’re trying to grow your personal or business account, it can be challenging to grow your audience. Trying to stand out on an application that has over 600 million users is not an easy task at all. One of the best (and often misused tools) is hashtags.
But before you use hashtags, let us have a quick look at what is hashtag and why do you need to use this. A hashtag is the pound sign (#) and in social media it is used to draw attention, to promote and to organise content around a particular topic. Instagram (and for the most part Twitter) is a medium where hashtags are required for content to be seen. The thing about hashtags is that using the right one can increase you visibility immediately and increase engagement with your audience. Just make sure that you use a hashtag that is in line with the content you are posting.
Instagram has been the popular social media platform in Australia. Australians love using Instagram, especially during weekends. Australian women dominate social media channels with a booming of 58% using Instagram videos and 66% using Instagram images (Datafication). The hashtags that they have used and become popular in just a matter of 24 hours were #australia #cute, #fun, #sydney, #love, #sydney, #lol, #fitness, #music, and #instagood.
Like any other social network there are ways how to use it (and importantly how not to) so let’s check how to use a hashtag and how can it help to grow your audience.
- Don’t forget to use the right hashtag. If you use the right hashtag on your content then you are more likely to reach and discover new users. It will be easier for your audience to notice your photo if you use a specific hashtag that is trending. Just remember to make it relevant or your will be shadowbanned.
- Timing of your Posts. Yes, you have outlined what you will post but consider also when the right time to post it. When is your target audience likely to be online?
- In addition to using branded hashtags (#yourbusinessname), try using industry specific hashtags, and even more general ones. If you wan to know what to use, do a quick serch in Instagram and see how many posts come up – that will tell you what is popular and what isn’t
- Share your daily activities. Want to catch the follower’s attention? You can give glimpses and tell what you’re actually doing. This is a great way to make your audience feeling inspired.
Instagram allows users to post up to 30 hashtags but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to use all of them. It’s all about engagement and you need to publish when your audience is active. And don’t forget to measure your efforts so you can tweak your content. Always remember that using a hashtag is easy but you have to make sure that it is relevant and accurate in order for you to be noticed and in time, you will see that your audience is increasing.
If you want help getting more out of your social media marketing, please download our free step by step guide today!