Hashtags play an important role in social media marketing. Used at the right time and in the right context a hashtag has the power to multiply the visibility of your social media update far beyond your followers. Do you know how to find hashtags with the power to boost your social media success? Hashtags play an important role in social media marketing. Used at the right time and in the right context a hashtag has the power to multiply the visibility of your social media update far beyond your followers.
What is a hashtag?
A hashtag is a combination of a # symbol and a keyword or keyphrase. They are used to identify the topic of a post in social networks.
While you can use numbers in your keyphrase, special characters including ‘$’, ‘%’ and ‘ ‘ are not allowed.
A hashtag can be a popular keyword or phrase that many people use or it can be a specific hashtag invented by a brand, event, person for a purpose. For instance, sports stars often brand their own hashtag, make it popular, and then use it for merchandise. Or a brand can use a hashtag to brand all their own pins on Pinterest. On Twitter, hashtags are used to group together all posts from a Twitter chat.
Why should you even care about hashtags?
For most social networks updates with hashtags get more visibility AND engagement. For example, on Instagram, posts with hashtags get 12,6% more engagement.
Hashtags work as categorization and organization for the posts. People can discover posts via the hashtags – you have the chance to reach a new and larger audience through your hashtags. The right hashtags can help you discover the right audience: an interested and engaged audience.
Hashtags in social media posts also give a quick hint as to what the post is about. This makes it easier for people to grab the meaning of a post and react to it. Engagement for posts with hashtags increases.
Hashtags are used to specify the topic of a tweet and group the tweets around one hashtag in one hashtag stream. Hashtags are also used for branding reasons and to specify tweets in a chat of conversation.
Hashtags on Pinterest are relatively new. Since fall 2017 Pinterest accepts hashtags in the pin descriptions. You can use many hashtags – as the character count allows. Hashtags are used to identify the topic of a pin and related topics. Hashtags are relevant if you want to rank in the smart feed for people that do not follow you but are interested in the topics of your tweets.
Is the queen of social networks when it comes to hashtags. Up to 30 hashtags are accepted in the post description. Hashtags play an important role when you want to grow your Instagram account and find like-minded people.
On Instagram you can not only follow accounts you can also follow hashtags. Posts using this hashtag will then show up in your Instagram feed and you can decide if you want to follow the Instagrammer who posts with this hashtag.
If you search for a hashtag on Instagram you will also see a page of the most popular posts using this hashtag. If you manage to get your post into this lot for one of the more popular hashtags, you may have scored some huge exposure. But it is hard to get there and the question remains if this crowd is very targeted for your post.
Hashtags turn keywords in clickable links to provide further information and posts around the hashtags topic. You can also use personal hashtags for brand campaigns or group all posts around an event or campaign together.
However, hashtags on Facebook never reached the popularity they have on other social networks.
Are you even aware that you can and should use hashtags on LinkedIn? I admit that I have only used hashtags for my LinkedIn articles which are already a couple of years old.
You can add hashtags to your daily updates and categorize your articles. You can also follow hashtags.
Here is more about how to use hashtags in the various social networks.
If you want to leverage niche hashtags, you have to be careful. Niche hashtags will only show their unique power, if you do your homework and research well. If you are looking for success through niche hashtags, a quick guess will often not do the trick. It is well worth the effort to spend a few minutes on the question, how can you find hashtags that are the best possible selection for your social media updates.
In addition to just using an already existing hashtag, you can also use hashtags for branding or start a hashtag campaign for a popular topic. That means you research a hashtag that no one else is using and start using it for a conversation or posts around a topic. To make this successful, you need a topic that can become (very) popular and some way to give your hashtag an initial push.
Here are few Tools and Tactics to research the best hashtags for your social media posts:
1. Twitter Trends
Yes, I know, that I told you not to use (only) the most popular hashtags. Still, the Twitter trends are tailored to each Twitter user and they may be a good start to find hashtags for your current interests.
2. Use Search
In most social networks you can simply use the search and the autocomplete function to get some ideas for hashtags. Unfortunately on Twitter and Facebook, you will not get any additional information for the hashtags as for instance, how often they are used.
On Instagram however, this hashtag search will already provide you with some information on how many posts use this hashtag plus which of the people you follow also follow this hashtag.
Instagram search also gives you some ideas for related hashtags.
Hashtagify provides you with hashtag suggestions for Twitter and Instagram.
For Twitter, you can simply type your tweet and get ideas for matching hashtags. Or you type a hashtag and get more related hashtag suggestions. You will get information on the language of the tweets that use this hashtag and the country the tweets originate from.
For Instagram you will also get some data around the hashtag like the popularity and the main influencers using this hashtag.
If you are marketing local or looking for trends in a specific country, Trendsmap could be your best tool for Hashtag research.
This is like Twitter’s trending topics on speed. With the free account you can play around with the map: zoom into specific countries or locations and see the local trends.
5. Hashtag Expert
Many people are using social media from mobile. Let’s take a look at a mobile app for hashtag research.
Hashtag Expert is a quick app to help you find related hashtags to copy and paste into your Instagram post on the go.
AutoHash is a fun Smartphone App that analyzes images and gives you hashtag suggestions based on what it finds on your images. You will have to play around with your images and see if the suggestions for your type of photos will provide you ideas for relevant hashtags.
Final words on how to find hashtags
I know how easy it is to fall for the quick solution and just type the couple of hashtags that first come to my mind when creating a new social media update.
But there is so much more power in hashtags that you are missing if you do not invest a tiny amount of work in your hashtag research.
Hashtags have tremendous power – if you know how to find the powerful hashtags that can change your social media fate.
You can be banned from using the wrong hashtags – and your social media success can multiply through your hashtags. It is up to you which of the two it is going to be.