Hashtags aren't just the influencer's best friend, as indicators for both users and algorithms that a specific piece of content is related to others, businesses big or small can make good use of this free marketing practice to make content more discoverable and increase reach. But there are some rules of thumb to do so #effectively. So, let's hash it out!
To set things up, in case you're a hashtag newbie, you should use a hashtag when you want to signal that your business or organization is participating in a conversation within the digital community. To utilize them effectively, you or your social media manager should have an ear to the ground on trending topics and should be following hashtags on all your profiles.
Consistent healthy use of tags in content and engagement on other tagged posts, will help to garner more interactions and give a boost to your brand’s social media presence. They are one of the easiest ways to weigh on a topic and let your audience know that your organization supports certain social issues that may be relevant to them.
Aside from utilizing established or trending tags, creating a brand hashtag can be an effective way to build brand awareness by driving an online conversation. Whether the tag centers around your name, your cause, or your product, a catchy tag can get others outside your organization to do the leg work for you. Other than producing good content, it’s the first step in viralbaility.
To find specific hashtags that are relevant to your brand you will have to do some research. A great way to get started is to gather information about any relevant industry-leading influencers as well as your competitors. This will help you gauge how your competitors are engaging online with your target audience. Some social listening is required, there are some tools available to help you with this or you can employ a marketing professional to do research and apply it for you .
Although the first hashtag was born on Twitter in 2007 by Chris Messina, the use of hashtags has spread across every social media platform. They work a little differently on one to the other, so let’s go over best practices when planning for use on each.
Instagram is the platform that is best for multiple hashtags. The platform allows up to 30 different hashtags for one specific piece of content. Although using all 30 hashtags is not recommended, it allows your business to experiment to find what works best. The best-performed posts are reported to have between 9-12 hashtags and are 21-24 characters in length. You may want to consider adding them to your biography section to lead a hashtag page on the topic. Using them in Instagram stories is a great way to drive more visibility and ultimately boost overall reach. Creating unique hashtags for specific campaigns to encourage user-generated content is a great way to build an online following. Instagram also allows users to follow hashtags that will allow you to discover trending content that is relevant to your brand.
Hashtags are not as prevalent on Facebook, but still can be a useful tool on the platform. There are specific times when they can be effective. Brand-specific hashtags tend to perform well in cases such as events or special promotions that will boost exposure.
Hashtags have not always been supported on this platform. LinkedIn has made its name for itself as the professional social networking platform. As LinkedIn grew to its large number of users and content they realized they needed a better way to categorize, organize and filter content. Using hashtags on this platform allows user content to be indexed, this allows users to find each other’s content without having to be mutual followers. Using Hashtags here as a professional or business allows you to engage with conversations that concern business practices and your brand.
Tweets with hashtags generate more engagement than those without them, The optimal number of hashtags is only one here. Consistently using the same single hashtag will categorize your content over time.
Utilizing hashtags on TikTok can help grow your audience and help you create your content community. Using trending hashtags increases your visibility, helps you identify brand competitors, potential collaborators, as well as gives you an insight into what others in the industry are creating. One of the more distinctive uses of hashtags on the TikTok platform is the use of hashtag challenges. A hashtag challenge is considered a competition where typically a brand challenges users to create content and tag it with a branded hashtag. Hashtag challenges are successful because users are inspired by other users to create original content.
There is no absolute outline when it comes to the best use of hashtags for your brand, what it allows for is creativity in execution. A successful hashtag strategy starts with knowing your target audience, knowing the platform, and formulating a plan.
AppSoft Development’s Social Media Strategists are here to collaborate with you on how to craft the perfect social media strategy, including custom hashtags. If you’re interested in collaborating with us on incorporating a hashtag strategy into your social media marketing plan, please reach out to Michelle@appsoftdevelopment.com or call 904.551.4700
Written by Julia Ponce de Leon, Digital Marketing Strategist
Edited by Michelle L. Clark, Digital Marketing Director