In this day and age, everyone knows what a hashtag is on social media. Present across all social media platforms, hashtags can be used recreationally by anyone in their posts as a way to sum up their content in a clever way.
When utilized intentionally by businesses, hashtags are an avenue to market your brand, increase your discoverability or overall reach of your content, and improve your engagement rates by targeting specific audiences that will take the most interest in your brand.
But how many people actually use this built in tool to its full marketing potential, as another way to increase their business’ exposure in the social media space?
Hashtags are a type of data that allows social media to identify and group content together on the platform. With the hash symbol (#) followed by a key phrase, hashtags tag content with a specific label, and in turn enters the post into a group of similar posts and conversations.
Although the hashtag’s purpose is simple, there are many ways it can be used as a marketing tool for businesses active on social media. Since hashtags are searchable on any social media platform, they can provide a lot of context outside of your caption that allows your content to be more discoverable by users, based on the label your business puts on it. Hashtags can range from being very general or basic (ie. #travel or #smallbusiness), to extremely narrowed in to one particular topic, such as your business’ location, industry, or even related to a specific day, holiday or event (ie. #worldemojiday).
With these special labels you mark your post with, your business could see increased engagement through more likes, comments, shares, and follows. By simply placing your content into a category from hashtags, you are allowing your business to be more searchable, discoverable, and in turn more successful in its overall strategy on the platform.
With hashtags being a proven marketing tool to expand organic reach and awareness, how does your business actually implement them into your marketing strategy, and know which ones to use that will effectively yield the best results?
1. Keep It Simple
Your business is probably no stranger to this phrase in the rest of its social media marketing strategy. Similar to any other mode of content, overcomplicating the use of hashtags could produce the opposite effect on your social media engagement and reach.
Hashtags that you pair with your content should be clear and concise, but also be popular on the platform you are using it on. Additionally, use hashtags that are easy to spell and understand, so that your audience can read or even potentially use them as well. Although taking chances on more complex or less popular hashtags could potentially give you desirable results, it is more efficient for your business to simply utilize hashtags that are already out there and have demonstrated their success.
2. Observe Your Competitors
If your competitors or other business in your specific industry are using hashtags and implementing hashtag marketing on their social media, do some research on them. By analyzing what works versus does not work, your business can gain a lot of information on how your target audience responds to hashtags, and in turn apply what you gathered into your own marketing. From specific keywords to how many they use, there is a lot of essential knowledge you can pick up by observing other businesses, rather than having to go through trial and error with your own strategy.
3. Discover Trending Hashtags
With anything related to social media, there are always trends that are popular and can be followed for increased engagement. Similarly, using hashtags that are currently trending can increase your visibility, and add value to your content in a way that gets your audience to stop scrolling. Furthermore, participating or acknowledging trends through a hashtag signals to consumers that you are an active brand on social media, and in turn invites them to continue coming back to your page, building a relationship with your brand, or even investing in your business by purchasing your products or services.
It is important that you do research on social media for general trends, ones that relate to your industry, and the ones that your target audience are paying the most attention to. Utilizing trends is essential in producing the best results in your strategy, especially when it comes to hashtag marketing.
4. Search For Hashtags That Relate To Your Brand
There are a countless amount of hashtags that exist on each social media platform. Since you want to gain the most exposure possible through categorizing your posts with hashtags, your business must search for ones that will put your posts in front of the correct audience. Hashtags specific to your business could be related to you being a local business, your location, niche, or a product/service that you offer. By simply typing in keywords into the search bar on these social media platforms, you can find currently trending hashtags related to your business that you can utilize for your own posts.
Another strategy you can utilize in hashtag marketing is creating a branded hashtag. A branded hashtag, such as #shareacoke from Coca-Cola, is one that is specifically related to your business’ slogan or mantra. These types of hashtags can be uniquely successful because although you are essentially creating a new label or category, which would not necessarily improve your engagement rates, they can be used as a way to allow consumers to get involved with your business. By having a branded hashtag, your audience can directly interact with your business hands-on, and post their own content with your business’ tag on it. Apart from the beneficial results a branded hashtag can produce, you can also source User-Generated Content for your page through your hashtag as well.
5. Analyze, Analyze, Analyze!
Just like with your competitors' posts, analyze your own metrics based on the hashtags that you used in the captions. By figuring out what got more engagement versus not, your business can understand its own specific audience and their behaviors, which can help guide you in the future to produce the most success based on the hashtags that you used. Analyzing the results of a hashtag can be as simple as viewing insights, and viewing how many users found your post through a hashtag that you used. The more information you can gather about your audience and how they respond to your posts, the better.
It is also important to be aware and understand how each platform specifically responds to the use of hashtags. If your business begins to overuse them, you could produce a significantly detrimental effect to your overall reach and engagement. While some platforms respond well to a lot of hashtags at once such as Instagram, other social media apps such as Facebook do well with only 1-2. To gain more insight about hashtag analytics relating to each specific social media platform, review this article here.
Ultimately, hashtags are a powerful tool on social media that can be leveraged for brand marketing and increased exposure on different platforms. With all of its benefits ranging from increased exposure to building brand awareness, it is essential to take advantage of hashtag marketing in your social media strategy. Within Social Rotation, your business has the ability to schedule out what hashtags you are going to use along with your posts, through automation of your first comment. Utilize these 5 tips to not only guide your hashtag marketing, but furthermore put you ahead of other businesses on social media within your niche who are not implementing hashtags into their strategy.
To learn more about hashtag marketing and how to enhance your social media marketing strategy through automation, click here to schedule a personalized one-on-one demo with our team.