If you’ve been using hashtags on Twitter and Instagram simply because it’s the “popular thing,” you may be missing out on their main potential. Hashtags are everywhere these days: Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, and Facebook. You see them all over the internet and probably even use them yourself, but the focus of this article is to show you how you can implement them strategically. We’ll share some core tips on how to use these tagged topics in the best way possible on your posts, but first, let’s cover some important information regarding hashtags.
“What are they and why do I need them?”
These short links preceded by the pound sign (#) are used to turn any word, or group of words that directly follow it, into a searchable link. The hashtag’s widespread use began on Twitter, but has extended to other social media platforms. As a marketer, hashtags matter because their usage can expand your content reach, amplify your brand, target your market, get your content found by more viewers, and improve your SEO. Now, let’s jump into the various strategies that can be used when dealing with hashtags…
The trending hashtag refers to hashtags relating to topics that have become extremely popular. These are usually the most talked about topics at the moment. When you see a trend related to your business, don’t think twice, engage in it by using the tag. You are essentially getting free marketing by taking advantage of this situation. However, you must be aware that trending hashtags are continuously changing in real time. A top 10 trend can come and go within minutes.
“Where do I find these trending hashtags?”
Currently, only Twitter and Google+ show you trending topics directly on their websites. Trends on Twitter can be found on the left-hand side of your computer Twitter feed. You can even change the trends based on geographic location. Trends on Google+ are in the “What’s Hot” section. Twitter’s trends are generally transferable to Facebook, Instagram, and even to Pinterest, to some extent. Google+ trends are transferable as well, but you’ll often find more niche trends on G+.
Similar to Twitter and Google+, Instagram has a search engine that lets users browse hashtags from their area of interest. It’s important to note that in order to make Instagram content searchable, the author must use hashtags when they post. Instagram’s search engine also shows other popular hashtags when you are browsing or typing out a hashtag for your own post.
Another useful tool on Instagram is following hashtags. Since December 2017, you have been able to follow your favorite hashtags and see all of the posts that have used that specific hashtag. Once you subscribe (or “follow”) a hashtag, other related hashtags will show up. Don’t miss the chance to use those tags as well. If used properly, these Instagram hashtags could provide great benefits and potentially get your message seen by a massive audience.
Content hashtags are what you use on your posts. They are not necessarily trending or popular. They make reference to your post content, but are just as important as trending hashtags (in a different way, of course). These tags differ because their main purpose is to improve the SEO of your posts. They are hashtags that relate directly to what you’re communicating in your post. They also help to get any updates seen by consumers who are searching for or using the hashtag words. The categories for these hashtags can be things such as: product, lifestyle, events and locations.
For example, if you are an Italian restaurant and you regularly post the best images of your pastas using a concise hashtag, it gives your business a certain sense of identity, which your customers will easily remember. Examples of these might be: #pastalover #pastamania #pastabar. The point is to make a statement. As a brand, who are you? What defines you? These are the opportunities where content hashtags help to get your posts and updates seen by your consumers, whether they are searching for or using the hashtag words.
Event Marketing is very important, especially if you are looking to reach a wider local audience. Again, Instagram hashtags are a great tool to get this done. Users search by hashtag to find specific subject matter and when you use these hashtags on your own posts, they also show up for that search. In this case, you’ll want to use a mix of the following types of hashtags that SocialTables.com highlight in their article on how to promote events on Instagram.
Branded hashtags – These are hashtags you create that are specific to your event. (example: #TEDtalk)
Industry hashtags – These are hashtags widely used across the industry or client-type that your event serves. (example: #meetingprofs)
Niche hashtags – These are hashtags that your target audience might use regularly and show that you’re in tune with the way they speak. (example: #marketerlife)
The easiest way to expand your reach on social media is to use hashtags to your advantage. All of these opportunities are in the palm of your hand, all you have to do is pick your strategy!