(I’m on break this week, so please enjoy this post from June 2017).
Welcome to Marketing Monday, where I give you the tips and tricks you need to be your own content marketer. This week’s post is all about hashtags.
If you’ve never used social media before, or you’ve only dipped your toe in the water, you may or may not know what hashtags are or how they work.
If you’ve gone on social media at all, you’ve probably seen something like this: #bloggingtips. But why the pound sign? Why string all the words together into one?
In this case, the pound sign and the words following it are referred to as a hashtag. It started on Twitter as a way for people to categorize their tweets, but it has made its way onto all the social media platforms.
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
Everything. Social media is a powerful way to interact with your customers and get in front of potential customers – and proper use of hashtags can make it exponentially more powerful. Since I’ve started really thinking about the hashtags I want to include in my posts (and actually made a point to include them) my following has increased by 30%. What’s better is they’re all relevant accounts that I want to reach. Just by including #contentmarketing or #marketing or #blogging in each of my social media posts, everyone who is on social media searching for those terms can find and see my posts. That boosts, not only the visibility of my social media profile, but my website and my brand.
Think Of It As SEO
Hashtags are a form of SEO. Let’s say you want tips on blogging. Aside from this blog and my own social media accounts, you can just go to your Twitter account, put “blogging topics” in the search bar, and you’ll instantly be able to see every tweet with the hashtag, #bloggingtopics.
If you’re already familiar with keywords, hashtags are kind of like keywords, but for social media. If you use particular keywords in your blogs, consider using those same keywords as hashtags in your social media posts because that’s a great way to strategically get in front of people who want to know about the kinds of things you’re discussing.
Use The Prompts
Some social media channels, such as Instagram and Twitter, will offer suggestions when you start putting in a hashtag. Instagram in particular will show you how many posts already exist with that hashtag. This is an incredibly powerful resource for discovering hashtags. When I decided to start using the hashtag #contentisqueen in my posts, I had no idea there were literally thousands of people already using it. Not only that, but Instagram showed me related hashtags I hadn’t even known existed that were being used in at least as many (if not more) posts.
Target Your Audience
Marketing is all about reaching your ideal clients and that’s especially critical on social media, where everyone and there grandmother has an account and is posting about what they’re doing. By carefully selecting the hashtags you use, your post might be seen by fewer people, but it might be seen by more of the right people. Instead of getting lost in the noise of social media, your message will go straight to the people who are most interested in it.
Let’s say you’re an interior designer. You can use #interiordesign, which (at the writing of this post) has almost 29 million posts. Or, if you’re located in Chicago, you can use #interiordesignchicago, which has less than 2,000 posts. That means you won’t be seen by everyone who’s searching for interior design, but it’s more likely that all the people who are looking for interior designers in the Chicago area will find you.
It also drastically reduces your competition. With tens of millions of people posting about one topic, it’s highly likely that your post will get lost in the crowd. But by using a more specific hashtag, the people who are looking for exactly what you’re selling will be more likely to find you.
Every Platform Is Different
While hashtags can be great for some social media sites, they can actually hurt your post’s performance on others. As mentioned above, they were initially created for Twitter and they’re great for that. LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube also gotten on board with hashtags, but Facebook never managed it, although it did try. In fact, studies have shown that hashtags can actually hurt your Facebook post’s visibility, so avoid using them on that site.
Twitter posts do best with no more than two hashtags, while Instagram posts tend to perform best with around 10 hashtags (Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post). LinkedIn doesn’t have a hashtag limit, but the posts that perform the best tend to have no more than 5 hashtags.
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