Hashtag marketing is a fine art that requires significant practice and know-how if you want to get the results you need.
Too many business owners assume that just riding on the latest hashtag wave will get their posts in the trending section overnight; but you have to be ready to put in the work necessary to get there and know the tips and tricks good hashtag marketers use to get to the top.
In this article, we’re going to give you some of the things you can do to improve your hashtag marketing efforts and what you should avoid at all costs.
Do Be as Specific as Possible
What you want to do is target a community as precisely as you can when you release hashtags. This is ultimately what will dictate how successful your campaign will be. The more specific the hashtag, the more targeted the intended audience will be, which will usually lead to more engagement.
For instance, if you’re trying to sell baby products, a hashtag like #NewMum would work much better than something like #parents for instance. The first one is much more targeted and will make sure that only new mums are targeted, while #parents could refer to just any set of parents, including those who may not even be in the market for baby products. So, if you want to make your hashtag count, make sure you narrow them down as much as possible so they’re laser targeted especially for your target customer.
Don’t Make Them Too Long or Try to Get Smart
When it comes to hashtags, less is definitely more. Even if you think a longer hashtag would be more descriptive, try to make it as short as possible. Even if it may seem like a small difference, some Twitter and Instagram users are just too lazy to type all these characters, so try to keep your hashtags short and sweet.
And don’t over complicate them either. You want your hashtags to be easy to remember and search for. And the last thing you want is for your hashtag to be longer than the actual text. Don’t be that person on Instagram who speaks in hashtags and has little or no substance.
Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, which is crazy if you ask me, but you shouldn’t even come near that. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t even have five hashtags on a post. They will look spammy and will attract spammers in return. You might get more likes if you load your posts with hashtags, but that will be from the wrong set of people.
Cater to the Specific Social Network You Post on
Hashtags tend to have basically the same function across all platforms, and that is to tag content and make it more discoverable. However, the way hashtags are used will differ depending on the network.
For instance, hashtags on Instagram are used mainly to give a description of the content. While on Twitter, they are more used to get into a discussion or connect with a specific group you’d like to engage with.
Before you decide to use hashtags on any particular network, make sure that you look up what is the best way to use them depending on the platform. Most social media platforms will have clear guides for people who want to use hashtags, so make sure that you read them if you want the best results.
Also, make sure that you look up which relevant hashtags are trending at the moment. The extra work will result in more engagement later, so don’t skip that part.
Don’t Hashtag All Your Posts
Your posts should not be used as a vehicle for spammy hashtags. Contrary to what you may think, the main purpose of hashtags is not to trend. They should be used to describe your content and who it is relevant for. Trending should ideally be an afterthought.
Not every post you publish will be hashtag-worthy. If you feel your post isn’t contributing to the discussion, then consider leaving the hashtag off. For example, if you spot a news story that you think could be of interest or be helpful to your audience and want to link to it, don’t add a hashtag. However, if you have a blog post with commentary on the news, then it would wise to add an appropriate hashtag to bring awareness to it.
Do Use Unbranded and Relevant Hashtags
Ideally, the hashtags you’ll be using shouldn’t mention your company name if you don’t want to look like you’re simply doing shameless promotion. However, they should work to showcase your brand and give readers an idea of what your brand stands for.
A good example is when Destination British Columbia started using the #exploreBC hashtag to get more exposure. They used the hashtag primarily so that they could showcase pictures of the region taken by the community and their employees.
This then triggered a viral reaction where people who came to see and like the photos started posting their own photos using the hashtag. This has allowed the company to get tons of free, highly relevant, user-generated content, and grow their movement.
You can also use branded hashtags to get more attention for special offers or contests. Lay’s, an American crisp company, had a clever “Do us a Flavor” contest where people were asked to submit their own crisp flavours, with the winner having their flavour manufactured. They launched their advertising campaign using the #DoUsaFlavor hashtag.
The hashtag was a success overnight with people submitting their own ideas and getting very creative with their posts. And not only did it make the contest more popular and increased engagement, but it also made organising tagged posts on the hashtag page and collecting entries for the contest easier.
These few simple tips should allow you to become a hashtag master in no time. Make sure that you make each hashtag count and take the time to understand hashtag etiquette if you don’t want to be categorised as just another spammer.