How To Effectively Use Hashtags In Social Media Marketing
When done right, using hashtags in social media can be fundamental to generating exposure and audience engagement.
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Hashtags are an integral part of any social media marketing strategy. They function as a way of labelling your content and help to make that content discoverable to users. When done right, using hashtags in social media can be fundamental to generating exposure and are a great way to generate the right kind of audience engagement when it comes to social platforms.
Expanding your reach and your own knowledge of hashtags can help how your business operates on social. Here are six simple ways to use hashtags in social media marketing:
1. Succinct, Not Spammy!
We’ve all seen those posts crammed full with every hashtag under the sun and while Instagram users aren’t as susceptible to hashtag fatigue as Facebook and Twitter users are, it still doesn’t mean you should tag every post with the 30 hashtag maximum allowed per post.
You don’t need to take it to the limit to get success! Tagging your photos and videos with the most popular hashtags will probably gain you new followers, yes, but they’ll likely be the wrong kind of followers – spammers or people only interested in being followed back. You want to locate and connect with a high-quality, brand appropriate audience.
2. Be Specific and Unique
As a business or marketer on social media, it’s important to be able to reach your community with the use of a hashtag, especially during special events and Twitter chats. However, in order to do this and to have any hope of joining the conversation, you need to work hard to find hashtags that are more unique.
If you opt for generic hashtags such as #marketing, #seo or something like #fashion and expect people to see and interact with your post, think again. Most likely your post will be lost amongst 1000’s of other generic posts using the same hashtags – it’ll be like trying to find a needle in a haystack!
Try hunting down hashtags in social media that have a smaller, but more fine-tuned focus, ones that are appropriate for your brand content. The hashtag business is a little like keyword research, it’s all about finding the right hashtag that fits your business with a realistic audience size you can tap into.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that uses of hashtags differ depending on the channel, so it’s worth checking out the different platform-specific practices to help increase their performance.
3. Utilise Trending Hashtags
The word ‘trending’ is a concept we’re all familiar with and it covers everything from news headlines to fashion, generating relevant and associated hashtags. However, trending hashtags are continuously changing, just like the world’s events, so it’s important to keep an eye on what’s hot in the media and online.
If you see a trend that relates to your business then grab it and engage by using the hashtag in your posts. By using the trending hashtag in your content update, you can get your post seen by a much larger audience. This means that more and more people can see your updates rather than just your fans and followers, therefore more and more people will re-share it, helping to boost your brand awareness.
- Locating trending hashtags and topics: You can do this on Twitter, Google+, Facebook or you can even utilise hashtag analytics monitoring sites like Hashtags.org, Trendsmap, Hashtagify or RiteTag.
- Knowing your niche: using niche-trending hashtags to connect and build relationships with your targeted market before anyone else. This will make it seem as if you’re at the forefront of hot new topics and trends – people gravitate towards this, so grab it!
4. Do Your Research
Just the same as when you’re undertaking keyword research, it’s important to do the same when using hashtags in social media to make sure that your hashtag isn’t being used for the wrong reasons. You want your tweet or Instagram post to stand out for the right reasons, however using a negative, political, religious or even a protest hashtag might not be the best way to do it. You want to unite your audience, not divide them, so stay away from controversial hashtags. Don’t damage your brand with careless tagging.
It’s also worth making sure that another brand isn’t using hashtag specifically for their own promotion as well, you don’t want to appear to be stepping on other brands toes or confusing your own audience. As well, be sure that people are actually using the tags you’ve included and are engaging with it across social channels. There’s no point including a hashtag if there’s no audience and no conversation.
5. Create Brand Engagement
It’s important to know WHEN to use tags on social media. While you don’t want to ignore your users, it’s not necessary to use hashtags while conversing with your followers. As well as this, while it’s not necessary to use a hashtag in every post, it is vitally important to remember that you should not use them while responding to someone. Whether it’s a re-tweet or a reply, avoid using these characters when they are not required. Keep the marketing to your posts out of your customer dialogue.
Knowing how to tap into the power of a hashtag to utilise them properly is crucial to their longevity. Hashtags won’t work just because you want them too, to succeed they should be less about a message and pitched more as a call to action. This will lead to greater brand engagement.
An example of a successful hashtag campaign is #mycalvins, undeniably one of the most successful marketing operations ever run. It encouraged users to picture themselves doing their favourite activities or just posing in their CK branded clothes, it felt like a positive and collective grassroots approach, led by and for fans of the brand.
6. Hashtags, Tone & Trust
Creating a carefully curated brand image on social media can be a tricky and time-consuming business. However, it’s well worth the effort, as the more comfortable your followers feel with your brand, the more likely it is they’ll attempt to interact with you on it.
However, if you’re trying to build a reciprocal relationship with your users it’s no good using hashtags that in no way relate to the content of your post or even your brand image. Users will see right through this tactic and will eventually come to resent the misleading content you’re putting out, resulting in a lack of trust. If you build the right content and implement your well-researched hashtags, they WILL come and they will engage – but it takes time, so be patient!
You wouldn’t think so, but there’s a world of opportunities that lie with using hashtags in social media. Learning how and when to use them properly is central to getting brand exposure, but it’s isn’t just about how your audience can help you, you need to look at how hashtag engagement can help your audience.
Key hashtags takeaways for social media are 1) It’s better if they’re short, precise and simple to spell, 2) they give your audience a clear idea about the topic of the conversation and 3) they’re memorable, maybe utilising alliteration – #TuesdayTip or rhyme – #SundayFunday and even wordplay – #Friyay can help with this!
Jen Gwinnutt is digital marketing assistant at iWeb, a leading UK based eCommerce Agency. iWeb are certified Magento developers with over 22 years experience designing and developing eCommerce websites.
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