Social Media Hashtags: What Works and What Doesn’t?

Social Media Hashtags: What Works and What Doesn’t?

You’ll know you’re doing it right on social media if you’re doing these: spot-on branding, great content marketing, paid advertising, and then, there’s effective hashtagging.

Everything has become extremely competitive, including the use of social media hashtags. Imagine 8+ million businesses fighting over the social media algorithm to gain the attention and engagement of 1+ billion active social media users all over the world. It’s hard to imagine being unable to utilise hashtags as part of your social media marketing strategy, knowing that you can increase your brand following by up to 6%-8% every month.

So if you’re still not joining the hashtag movement, our question for you is, WHY?

Why Do We Need To Understand Hashtags?

It’s important for every business owner to know the true power and perks that lies when using hashtags. Although, there’s a huge difference between knowing how to do hashtags versus understanding how to effectively use hashtags that favours alongside engaging content. There’s a common notion that just by using as many hashtags as you can, you’re already doing it effectively. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Here’s why you should understand how hashtags work: 

Increased engagement and better social listening

Aside from using social media hashtags to increase brand awareness and engagement, it can also be used as a social media listening tool. Why is social listening important? Think of it as a “customised assessment” for your business. Sprout Social boils the reason down on how social media listening helps one’s business to three core factors: industry intelligence, competitive intelligence, and brand intelligence.

Industry intelligence lets you determine how to deliver the right messaging to your demographic by developing an effective content marketing strategy. Competitive intelligence helps you identify who your current and potential competitors are, how to leverage from their current follower tractions and how to differentiate your brand from their existing campaigns. Lastly, brand intelligence lets you evaluate the perception of consumers towards your brand — how they had a good and bad experience or how your marketing initiatives created an impact on your followers.

Although these factors might seem overwhelming to consider when deciding on what hashtags to use for your next post, but it will help you build a better marketing strategy and your business will thank you for it.

It progressively increases your branding’s value

Good social media and offline branding give you various privileges to connect with relevant people and prove to them the reason why they can trust you. Regardless of your current hashtag practices, every owner must know that hashtagging increases your brand’s significance to your audience. Especially for new businesses, it’s important to:

  • Build awareness by creating a brand hashtag, either using your product’s name or your business’ unique selling proposition
  • Gain exposure for your brand by actively joining in trending hashtag conversations   
  • Research certain hashtags before using them for your hashtag campaigns

Different Types of Hashtags

That being said, here are different types of social media hashtags that you can plot down on your monthly social media calendar:

Campaign Specific Hashtags

These are hashtags that are created for specific social media marketing campaigns that can be used for various reasons: to attract consumers’ attention and gain good social media traction or launching certain advocacies.

Brand Hashtags

Brand hashtags may often be used by big Instagram accounts but can be utilised by small businesses in two ways: get featured by the brand or make new connections using the brand hashtag. You can also make your own brand hashtag that seems relevant and consistently incorporate them on every social media post. Some businesses had established their success by doing brand-tailored hashtag campaigns.

Industry Hashtags

Industry hashtags, better known as generic hashtags are usually high-density keywords that describe your brand specialty. Although the competition is quite tighter when using these hashtags, a lot of people are able to discover your posts thanks to these general hashtags.

Event and Celebration Hashtags

Whether it’s a global holiday, a country-specific celebration, or a local community event — making use of event and celebration hashtags lets people know that you’re up-to-date with the current events and helps you find new social connections.

Do’s When Using Hashtags

DO: Build a hashtag strategy.

One thing that you should not ignore if you want to get good results is creating a hashtag strategy. Whether it be creating branded hashtags or combining branded and generic hashtags, make sure that they’ll matter to your target audience.

DO: Only use at least 11 hashtags at a maximum.

Although some brands use as much as 30 hashtags in one post (which still gets high engagement traction), it’s highly recommended for small to medium-level businesses to use at least 8 relevant hashtags and a maximum of 11 hashtags. Although you can still create variety wherein you can use lesser hashtags in a day and a hashtag spree a day after, just make sure it’s relevant to your content.

DO: Use relevant hashtags that match your visuals.

This is an absolute must. There would be no absolute sense on including hashtags that do not bear any context on your visual content at all. It might even cost you fewer tractions for it.

DO: Create conversations using your hashtag.

The digital world is your business’ new haven, so take some risks, spark conversations, reply to your customers’ queries all the time and gain social connections within the online community who potentially uses related hashtags as yours.

DO: Research any hashtag you want to put on your posts.

You can do this on Twitter through Advanced Search and start searching for specific, tailored keywords and also on Instagram by typing in a list of keywords that you plan to use and find out how many posts published posts used that specific hashtag. The good thing is, it’s free!

DO: Keep tabs on your competitors’ hashtags.

Aside from establishing your brand’s online presence, you’ll have an advantage when you’re up-to-date with the hashtags that your competitors are using. It helps you determine better what factors you must consider when creating your next social media posts or what tactics can you implement in order to get your competitors’ followers to notice your brand too.

Don’ts When Using Hashtags

DON’T: Do spam-looking hashtags.

Some social media marketing agencies and professionals may disagree that 30 hashtags on one post is fine. But putting 30 hashtags on every social media post seems way too overwhelming for someone to come across.

DON’T: Use broad hashtags all the time.

Most of the time, using broad hashtags may actually help you gain good traction if used appropriately. But since broad hashtags are usually high-density keywords, there’s a serious case of competition among small to global brands which makes being noticed a bit of a challenge.

DON’T: Copy your competitors’ hashtags.

This is an obvious sign of defeat. Copying your competitors’ hashtags might mean that: A. You’re too desperate to get a good amount of engagement and B. You lack creativity on using hashtags that you can call your own. It can also lead to legal matters if you’re copying from a trademarked hashtag.