Does your brand use hashtags in social media posts? There’s no denying the increasing popularity of hashtags in today’s culture of intense social activity, especially in the marketing landscape. What was once the humble pound symbol has changed in meaning, it is now followed by a keyword or phrase to help further the reach of social media content.
While they can be overused, hashtags can be a valuable tool to brands. According to Dan Zarella, author and social media scientist at HubSpot, tweets containing one or more hashtags are 55% more likely to be retweeted than those that don’t include them.
With the rule of thumb across the majority of platforms being 1-2 hashtags per post (with the exception of Instagram, where 11 is the ideal number), it’s important to make every hashtag count. Here are some useful tips, hints, tools and tricks for using hashtags and getting results.
#Content + #Distribution = Trending Hashtags
The first step to hashtagging success is tying yourself to relatable content that enables engaging conversation. Generating a hashtag people want to share and talk about increases the chance of your message reaching the masses and gaining widespread attention.
Once you have the content, you need to team up with other influencers and start the conversation. To do so, identify relevant influencers in your field who are capable of spreading the word. Once you have your influencers, have their followers join to create a knock-on effect.
For the hashtag to gain further traction, timing and longevity must be considered. To launch the hashtag, influencers must sync up for several minutes so there is a simultaneous push. Weekdays during business hours are usually the ideal time to maximise engagement. The strength of the push will also determine the success the hashtag achieves in terms of tweets per second.
To measure success, analytic tools such as TweetReach and Hashtracking enable you to track the hashtag in realtime, including tweets, retweets and who is contributing to the conversation.
Hashtags Establish #Credibility
Hashtags are a great way to boost your online presence and visibility. Participating in Twitter chats allows a brand to connect directly with consumers and influencers, share expertise and promote awareness. Twitter chats also enable a brand to observe how hashtags are used and track impressions for further engagement.
Hashtags Create #Engagement And #Exposure
According to Denise Lee Yohn in her Forbes article Use Hashtags to Generate Greater Brand Engagement,
“Hashtags are only as valuable as the engagement they produce.”
Working as a filter, hashtags have the ability to reach anyone with an interest in your post, even outside of your network. They also increase a brand’s exposure and engagement by connecting with your audience and the networks within your industry in realtime.
Joshua Decker, founder and CEO of Tagboard, says,
“Social media is a source of a whole lot of noise, so use [hashtags] as a way to create a signal…not add to the noise.”
Using the right tools, you can boost the effectiveness of your hashtags to increase engagement and exposure without contributing to the clutter.
#Unification Across All Platforms
Using a uniform strategy for hashtags across major platforms can help widen your reach and exposure. Instead of putting all your brand’s eggs into one basket and narrowing your audience, using multiple platforms gives you options and encourages your audience to continue the conversation wherever they feel the most comfortable.
Hashtags.org allows you to track and follow trending hashtags across various platforms by providing an extensive list of hashtags popular or trending on the platform. Using the site, you can find which hashtags are being tweeted about most within the last 24 hours.
Tools like Tagboard also allow you to track a hashtag across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Vine, or to filter them individually. Similarly, Hootsuite allows you to post your content and hashtag across multiple social media sites at once. It also allows you to pre-schedule posts and track hashtag activity.
Follow The #Leader
As mentioned before, it’s important to know what your industry’s influencers are hashtagging. Engaging with industry leaders is great from a business perspective as it can garner your brand greater exposure.
Tools such as Twitalyzer and Topsy show you how the influencers are using hashtags. Simply input the username of someone you want to investigate and Twitalyzer will tell you what hashtag the influencer uses most often. As well as compiling tweets with photos, links and videos containing the hashtag you’re searching for, Topsy tells you who the influencers are of a particular hashtag.
Don’t #Settle For The Second-Best Hashtag
When choosing the right hashtag, it’s important to consider your options. To achieve greater results, you need to know the hashtag you’re using will be the most effective in garnering your brand widespread exposure. If not, you are creating unnecessary noise and wasting your time.
Hashtagify.Me allows you to assess related hashtags that might be worth pursuing. When you type in a hashtag, it shows you other hashtags to consider, displaying their popularity and how closely they correlate to the original. A visually interactive tool, Hashtagify.Me is presented in a mind map where the larger the circle size the more popular the hashtag.
Similarly, RiteTag is a popular tool that tells you how much a hashtag can boost your post’s reach. When you compose a tweet with a hashtag, it highlights in either red, blue or green to indicate how high a chance your tweet has of being discovered. It also recommends alternative hashtags that are more likely to be noticed.
If you have any queries about creating the perfect hashtag brand strategy, contact Lush Digital Media.
What other hashtagging tips and tools have you used?