As an agency, when we’re hired for a project or monthly client retainer we typically support marketing and leadership teams. They can vary in size and experience but they all have someone tasked with social media management.
This often leads to our Persimmon team spending time to train on social media best practices and other helpful ways to maximize exposure for their brand. Invariably, hashtags almost always come up as a hot topic of discussion and we thought it would be helpful to share our thoughts on things to consider when using them.
What is a hashtag?
Wikipedia defines a hashtag as an item introduced by the number sign, or hash symbol, #, which is a type of metadata tag used on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and other microblogging services. It lets users apply dynamic, user-generated tagging that helps other users easily find messages with a specific theme or content.
Why use hashtags?
Hashtags are used to extend audience reach to obtain more viewers of a post. When the hashtag is clicked, it enables viewers to see related posts associated with that hashtag on the social media platform where it was used.
Hashtags are also a great way to find out what’s trending in certain areas, find additional information or market research, and identify communities of like-minded individuals.
How many hashtags should you use?
There are differing opinions on how many should be used. We typically recommend no more than three hashtags per post and encourage you to test variations of them. Once you go beyond three hashtags, viewers -- and site algorithms that choose which posts to display at the top of a feed -- may view the post as spammy in nature. Keep your hashtags simple and focused.
How do you choose hashtags?
It’s best to answer these five questions when choosing hashtags.
1. What are your social media goals? I.e. are you looking for views, leads, sales, investors, new employees, etc.?
Hashtags vary in terms of search volume based on popularity. Selecting popular hashtags may get your post more views and exposure. But the downside is there’s also more competition for attention in the feed. This is why finding niche hashtags with lower volume is also important, as your post may get more attention from your desired target market, which can turn into a valuable lead or sale.
2. Who is your target audience?
Make sure to spend the time developing an ideal customer profile and understanding your segments and personas. This will help you as you conduct research for hashtags that are both popular and niche for your audience.
3. Which industry are they in?
Many teams underestimate the power of industry specific content and communities. While the search volume may be lower in a given industry, the viewers are extremely valuable as they are in your target market.
4. What topics are they interested in?
This research can be a game changer. Understanding topics, themes, and content your target audience is interested in is absolutely critical to success. Spend time getting to know each persona and become an expert on their interests.
5. What are your company values?
If your company has a strong stance on social issues, make sure to consider this when deciding on hashtags to include. Many consumers are looking for companies that share their values as well.
Hashtags, like all marketing initiatives, should be well thought out and used to support your overall business objectives. We hope you found our ideas insightful. Let us know if you’ve found other helpful hashtag ideas by leaving us a comment or sending us a note.