You’ve probably heard of hashtags; those little grid-like symbols that can spell the difference between your social media post reaching one person and it reaching thousands of people? Hashtags create a community by being clickable, meaning all posts with a particular hashtag can be followed, even if the user isn’t following the account itself. The all-powerful hashtag is the perfect way to build your community and increase your brand’s visibility, and here are some tips as to how to squeeze the most out of them.
Don’t try to cheat the system
Just because a hashtag increases your reach, it doesn’t mean you should use it without careful thought. Using a set of irrelevant hashtags won’t positively increase your reach; it’ll show your posts to a community who won’t be interested in your products, annoying potential followers and upsetting the algorithm (and believe us, you don’t want to do that). So, put some thought into the best hashtags to use for your product.
Use trending hashtags
Twitter publicises trending hashtags, so it’s easy to pick one or two relevant hashtags to create your content around. However, it’s a little trickier on Instagram, which doesn’t have a trending hashtag facility. To find relevant hashtags, pick one that works for your business and type it in the search bar. The results will show you how popular the hashtag is, and also offer suggestions as to other high-performing hashtags relevant to your initial search.
Test, test, test!
We’ve read many conflicting reports as to the ideal number of hashtags to use. Twitter, as always, is more open than Instagram, suggesting the optimum number of two, but Instagram isn’t quite as helpful, offering no official guidance. The key here is to test what works for your business; keep an eye on your insights to ascertain the posts that get the most interaction and reach the largest audience and use that as a guide.
How to find winning hashtags for your business
We would never recommend copying another business but there is nothing wrong with some healthy competitor research. Find a handful of businesses in the same sector as yours (and roughly the same size) and check out their most engaging posts. You can win some great leads from the hashtags that work for your market, and also take some of these to create new ones by using a hashtag tool (such as the search facility on Instagram).
Your followers know
Your followers are valuable in more ways than one; these are the people you need to hit with the hashtags, so you need to know what they are searching for. When you use the Instagram search bar, it will show you if anyone you follow also follows that hashtag. If they do, and it’s relevant to your business, add it to your collection. On Twitter, a scour of your timeline will show you what hashtags people are using, and don’t forget that trending hashtags feature!