Everyone uses them and they can be fun, useful and who are we kidding – sometimes hard to read. What are we talking about? Hashtags, of course!
These little pieces of your overall post puzzle can be very beneficial to getting noticed outside of your immediate followers and adding on to your social media tribe. But the game needs to be played right by: knowing your platforms, doing a little research, noticing the hashtag mentions, adding variety, and having some fun with it.
Know your network
When it comes to hashtags, each social media network has different best practices. For example:
- Instagram: people tend to use them at the end of their posts or by adding a comment under their own post. Users tend to post tons of hashtags within the Instagram limit per post, which is 30.
- Facebook: people tend to use a lot less hashtags than they would on Instagram (like 2 or 3 compared to Instagram’s 30!) and sometimes they are at the end of the post and even mixed within the post itself.
- Twitter: since twitter has a 240 character limit, its common practice to use a lot less hashtags as the other platforms and to use them within the post itself. A total of 3-4 hashtags per post is usually best practice.
- LinkedIn: this platform is relatively new to the hashtag game and usually 1 or 2 hashtags is common practice here.
Research those hashtags
To use hashtags effectively first do a little research from two sources: competitors and your ideal customer. So take a look at some of your competitors’ posts that has gotten them the most likes or comments. What are some hashtags that they use that relates to what you are posting about? How are they using it within their post? How can you expand on these?
Now, view some accounts of your ideal customer. Let’s say you own a baby clothing line and your ideal customers are moms with newborns. Start with one popular hashtag, find some mom accounts that seem to have high activity and take a look at their posts from the last week. What are some hashtags they are using? Are you seeing any trends to other similar customer accounts? How can you relate them back to your posts and your business?
Pay attention to hashtag mentions
What are hashtag mentions you ask? It’s ok – no one is judging here. Hashtag mentions are the total number of times that that specific hashtag has been used within posts.
So if you take a look at Instagram, for example, when you type a hashtag within your post or within the search bar, you’ll notice a number next to the hashtag – THAT’S your hashtag mention.
Now, you would think that the higher the number the better it is, right? Nope. Not here. With a high number of hashtag mentions it’s easier to get lost in the shuffle. Plus, those mentions that are in the millions – they have a higher risk of getting flagged and blacklisted by the social networks due to their high number of spam posts within that group – therefore you’re account might get blacklisted (more to come on this topic later). So you’ll want to add mentions that don’t have over a million mentions, but yet have higher than a few hundred. Between 300k-600k is a solid number to look for.
Also, this will force you to use more specific hashtags – the more vague the hashtag the more chances you have of Follow Unfollow accounts from reaching you as well.
You might have a list of hashtags that you use on the regular – I know I do, especially for Instagram– so feel free to continue using those, but add some new ones that pertain to those specific posts you publish. Adding new hashtags will give your post visibility to an audience that might not normally see your posts, which in result – will increasing your engagement.
So what now?
Here are some steps you can do right now to increase your engagement using hashtags:
1. Figure out what platform you want to focus on
2. View some competitors and ideal clients and see what they are using as hashtags – write those down
3. Figure out which hashtags are getting between 300k – 600k as mentions
4. Save a list of hashtags on your phone. Your notepad app on your phone will do.
5. Start using them!