#Hashtags – I’m sure you’ve found that there is no shortage of social media techniques and tips out there!
But have you also noticed that most of those tips focus on general information, like how to get more followers or likes or how to post engaging content to engage your users?
These resources are important, but I notice that hashtags are sometimes forgotten.
They are rarely mentioned in marketing articles, but they’re such a great tool for building your brand, raising awareness around marketing campaigns, and engaging/entertaining your audience.
How Do Hashtags Work?
If you’re new to social media I know this can sound overwhelming.
You may have seen these words with the # in front of them on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest. (The hashtag began in 2007, when Twitter first started using it to index keywords to make them more searchable.)
But what are these words supposed to do? Should you use them? Why are they apparently random?
I’ve put together this guide to help you understand how to use hashtags (and what the hell they are!) so you can increase engagement and leads on social media. Think of hashtags as a way to rank your content.
Ultimately, they help people find and share articles on a specific topic. When you create your social media post, take one or more words and put the pound sign (#) in front of it. If you are using two words, do not put a space between them.
Now, the phrase is clickable and searchable on whatever social media platform the user is on.
Choosing the Right Hashtags
When done correctly, these tags can help you gain more exposure for your business and increase social media engagement. But like any social media strategy, you have to do your research and think before you post.
I’ll make this process easier for you. Here are 7 ways to start choosing the right hashtags:
1. Create them for events.
This is one of the best ways to increase excitement and engagement on your social media accounts. For example, The Weekly Trends shared their posts on Twitter and Instagram accounts with the hashtag #theweeklytrends, and so did their followers and readers.
2. Tag famous people or big brands.
Check out what’s trending on Twitter, and try and incorporate it into your posts; but only if it is relevant. People will know if you are trying to force it or being fake.
Examples include major sporting events, musician releases, holidays, and popular books. If someone who is famous in your industry makes the news, you can use this tag in any of your posts.
3. Do your research.
Whether you are doing research on the latest news for an upcoming Canadian Federal election or hockey playoffs, you could do a hashtag search to find several posts on the subject.
Searching tags on social media platforms can be a perfect way to find new ideas and spy on your competition.
A great resource for searching popular hashtags.
4. Encourage sharing.
The more people who share your hashtag and use it in their posts, the more exposure, engagement, and traffic you’re going to get.
You may remember the campaign #ShareACoke campaign. The company swapped out its iconic logo on 20-ounce bottles, replacing it with 250 of the most popular American names.
It was one of their most successful campaigns, leading to a 2% increase in soft-drink sales and lots of social media engagement as followers shared cans and bottles with their names on them.
5. Turn one tag into a campaign.
Many users “monitor” certain words, so focusing on one consistently can help you gain a following.
For instance, you could come up with a campaign with several posts around a specific product you offer, or a holiday promotion you’re doing.
6. Find some weekly post themes.
This is a simple way to tie in a trending tag with your business.
Some common themes include #throwbackthursday, where people post anything from past vacation pics to high school graduation photos; and #wisdomwednesday, where they share their advice on all sorts of topics.
I use #MotivationMonday and #TuesdayTip on our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram channels and often mix in other popular hashtags for optimal exposure.
7. Use humour.
People love to share funny stuff with others, whether it’s a trending meme or a relatable story. Here’s a hashtag late-night talk show host Jimmy Fallon came up with to get people to share: #MyWorstCostume.
By understanding which hashtags will resonate with your target audience, you can tap into a whole world of people looking for exactly what you’re offering. So start brainstorming and researching how to add some fun and functional tags to your next post!
Need some hashtag help? We’ve created a whole social media division for entrepreneurs and small business owners who understand the importance of having a social media strategy but simply don’t have the time to make it happen on their own. Let’s connect.