Do you have a hashtag strategy? While there's nothing wrong with casually using a hashtag, having a solid strategy behind your hashtag can bring real results for you and your brand. Let's look at the how's and why's behind using hashtags in your social media and how you can start benefitting from them with your social marketing!
Why use hashtags?
Consider hashtags the glue that holds social conversations and ideas together.
Clicking on a hashtag can provide a wealth of information and a sea of potential connections. Here are a few ways that hashtags can be used:
- Real-time interaction with friends, fans, and influencers
- Reinforce your area of expertise
- Connect with other people interested in the same topic
- Create a social media campaign
- Brand awareness
- Catch the trends – daily, weekly, or holiday
- Find valuable UGC (user-generated content)
- Rock out live events such as conferences
- Build out a social contest
How to build a social media hashtag strategyYour #socialmedia hashtag strategy is twofold: posting content so people will find it and social media monitoring. Click To Tweet
From Firmology, “Brand marketers are at the forefront of real-time marketing, able to release quality content on a moment’s notice. With the mounds of data being circulated every second, trending topics have become the holy grail of digital marketing.
Coming up with a unique hashtag for your brand can be a significant differentiator to your competition. Certain hashtags may stimulate engagement better than other marketing methods. It is important that your hashtags be associated with your brand and reinforce brand equity.”
When you're a brand, conference, webinar, or whatever you're representing, tell people what your hashtag is so they can use it. Ask people to share their favorite moments with the hashtag. It's really fun for people!
From WishPond, “For a campaign hashtag, use the name of your current marketing campaign.
For a campaign tag, again, make it a word or phrase that is unique to your short- term contest or promotion. Do your research. If they’re already popular on a few social sites – like Instagram and Twitter – use a different campaign tag.
Promote your campaign hashtags as a method for your customers to engage with you and your other customers throughout the duration of your special offer. For example, include the use of your hashtag as a requirement to enter your contest.”
An example of using a hashtag at an event is #INBOUND14. 14,500 people were live-tweeting this crazy marketing conference and I bagged three out of twenty of the top tweets tweeting for the Canva when I was Head of Social Strategy for them.
How did I do this?
#1 I used the event hashtag.
#2 I used a graphic with my tweet. Tips for creating great social media visuals here.
#3 I was fast and chose great quotes.Word of caution: don't hashjack popular hashtags with unrelated content - this can backfire on you. Click To Tweet
Hallmarks of successful hashtags
- Easy to spell.
- Easy to remember.
- Doesn't spell something awkward or potentially embarrassing.
- Make other people want to join in like #TeamOreo. If the hashtag is only about you, it limits other people being interested in using it.
Make sure to check hashtags to make sure that they aren't being used for another topic or reason. You don't want to hijack someone else's content or jump into something inappropriate accidentally.
Hashtags should be relevant to your audience and your content
Using hashtags that connect with the right people is important. If you're not sure what a hashtag means make sure you click through a couple of posts or ask someone what it means.
You may have several different topics that you talk about and these would have separate hashtag groups. Here are a few examples:
My Book Club
#travel, #wanderlust #bucketlist #dreamer #inspiration
Where should you use hashtags?
Hashtags should be like a sprinkle of goodness on your posts, not the main attraction. Hashtags typically are best at the end of the post but sometimes if a word or small phrase is in the middle, you can add a hashtag. Using too many hashtags can be viewed as extremely spammy and reflect poorly on your content.
- Twitter – use one or two.
- Facebook and LinkedIn- two to three hashtags.
- Instagram – You can use up to thirty in a post BUT it can look really spammy. I like to add four or five in my original post and add a group of six in a comment.
- Pinterest – hashtags aren't supported AND they can hurt you in the new Smart Feed algorithm. Read more about How to Optimize Your Pins for the Pinterest Smart Feed if you'd like more information.
- Tumblr – called tags here.
- Tagboard – uses hashtags to search for and collect public social media within seconds of being posted to networks like Twitter and Facebook. I love that you can interact with the tweets and Facebook posts on Tagboard.
- Social Mention – is a social media search engine that searches user-generated content such as blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, and videos.
Join the conversation!
On all the platforms that hashtags are supported, you can click the hashtag to open up a stream of conversation that's only about that hashtag. Social media listening is a great way to find fans of your brand and influencers talking about you. This is what I found by clicking on the #ArtofSocial hashtag on Instagram. There's a combination of posts from Guy Kawasaki, my co-author, and I as well as posts from people who are reading or want to read our book. Of course, you want to dive in and talk to these people!
Hashtag strategies in the wild
From social media strategist Rebekah Radice's Instagram strategy, “Using the most relevant and effective hashtags can be the difference between Instagram success and failure. If you want to get found, you need to place your content in front of people actively looking for it. This is exactly what hashtags do for you.
How can you find hashtags that make sense for your business?
Write down the search terms or phrases people use when talking about your company, industry or niche.
Go to Instagram and type your hashtag into search. For example, if I was looking for people posting about social media, I’d add #sociamedia into search.
Take a look at the number of posts within that search. Are there an abundance of posts and will it be difficult to capture audience attention? You want to find a hashtag that’s active, but not overly active.
Now look at the related hashtags that Instagram offers when you run your search. Look at the number of posts found in each one and determine which hashtags will be most effective in getting your message out.”
Rebekah used the strategy of adding the hashtags in a comment instead of the description, I do this also but also add a few at the end of the original post.
A photo posted by Rebekah Radice (@rebekahradice) on
I love the way that hashtags are little tags on Tumblr – people really rock the hashtags here so keep it relevant and enjoy! On my theme, the tags show twice. You can see this post here.
Here's a tweet that someone shared reading on the beach with my book.
This tweet has hashtags but they also @mentioned me so I would see it. At least my book when to Mexico!
I hope you're inspired to add more hashtags to your social media marketing strategy! Let me know what you've tried with hashtags and how you've found success. As always, if you have any questions or comments, let's hear them in the comments below.