Become a #hashtag Genius: Smart Questions Blog
Hashtags got you down? Don't worry, this quick a painless Q & A will get you off of your feet. Plus, we've got a free download for you in the shop: Guide to Creating Your Own Hashtag
What are hashtags and how do they work?
Hashtags, in a nutshell, allow you to easily discover content - and easily get your content discovered. They can consist of letters, numbers and emoji's (but no spaces, and capitalization doesn't matter except for quick readability), as long as they have that # sign before them.
Are hashtags relevant?
You bet they are. It's definitely a game of too much or not enough (they can get spammy), but they are relevant, and necessary, to get your content noticed.
Posts with hashtags average over 12% more engagement than those without.
What platforms support hashtags?
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Youtube, Vine (among some other less popular sites) all support hashtags in one way or another.
What is the best way to track/follow hashtags and perform research?
Using the search functions that each platform provides is a great start. For more in-depth research, I recommend the free tool, hashtagify.me, which provides related hashtags, top influencers, and usage patterns. You can also request notifications on whatever hashtags you want, and Hands down the best service I've used concerning hashtag tracking.
How do I know when a hashtag is trending? How do I see the top posts?
- Check platforms for popular posts of the day.
- When you search/click on a particular hashtag, it will show the most recent/most popular posts with that hashtag.
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest all have the option to see what's popular or trending.
- Another telling source would be Google Trends, found here. Anything that's on the top "Googled" list could likely be a hashtag, especially if it's a world or local event.
Note: When searching hashtags on Instagram, it displays the number of times the tag has been used, so that's a surefire way to know how "popular" it's been. But be aware that high numbers does not necessarily mean best quality. For example: Include 1-2 "more popular" tags in your post just for higher views, but make the rest of the tags more targeted to get engagement from the right users (that are more likely to be interested and stick with you).
What are some creative ways to use hashtags for your business?
- Create your own
- Use targeted, unique hashtags
- Use the same tags across all platforms
- Add hashtags to marketing materials that are not online
- Reference them in blog posts, podcasts, videos, etc.
- Create an event or story (read about the campaign behind this one: #esurancesaves30 + watch the commercial, here)
What are the benefits of creating my own hashtag?
Creating your own hashtag will allow you to:
- Stand out
- Be unique
- Improve brand awareness
- Get followers and customers involved
- Create community
What are best practices for the amount of hashtags to use per post?
- Too little = not enough exposure
- Too much = spammy followers and comments
Finding the right balance is tricky, but I've learned that 3-8 are more than enough, as they are relevant to your audience, unique to your topic, and communicate with your brand voice (read this post for more on how to create a unique brand voice). Using 1-2 unique hashtags you've created specifically for your business, coupled with 2-6 pretty popular hashtags directly to your business/product/service should serve your post well.
Top Do's and Don'ts for hashtags?
- Make them fun, and unique to your brand
- Make sure you add in some more "popular" hashtags, but that they are relevant to your audience
Example: For printable stationery, think #stationery vs #printablestationery; although both would work, #printablestationery is more relevant and caters to my audience better
- Make sure they are unique to your topic
- Use tags that are popular for your area, holidays, national and local events, etc.
- Use the them across all channels
- Use them offline in other marketing materials
- Use the them willy-nilly just to get a few likes or follows
- Use a ton of them, just to get more attention
- Copy or use another brand's hashtag (people will notice, and you don't want that on your record)
- Be un-creative!
How do I create and implement my own hashtag?
That's a great question! Downlaod our free Guide to Creating Your Own Hashtag!