Hashtag Research: How to use hashtags to grow your business online

  • Hashtag

Using the correct hashtags can mean the difference between being seen in organic search results and getting lost. They are the easiest way to reach your target audience or even a specific demographic – you just have to know what they’re searching for, and hashtag research is the key.

So, why do so little people actually do the research? It’s simple, really – research is sometimes boring, often time-consuming and always feels like hard work. But it doesn’t have to be! Whether you’re creating your own brand-specific hashtag or jumping on the trending bandwagon, hashtags are a massively important way to shape your online engagement and social conversations. Brands, however, need to be careful when using hashtags online – when used incorrectly, they offer viewers a bad user experience as they have to scroll through content that is irrelevant to find what they were initially looking for.

Fortunately, we can help – read on to see how you can make the most of your social media accounts by choosing, using and tracking the correct hashtags to help your business to thrive.

Hashtag basics

If you’re a social media novice, hashtags are a social media technique that categorises content to make it easier to search for and group together relevant information. On social media, users can click on specific hashtags, which will then take them to all content relating to the specific tag. Utilising hashtags allows businesses to reach their target audiences, and share relevant information about products or services. Today, hashtags are not only used for people to find your posts – from researching locations to finding like-minded people, hashtags are crucial for finding a range of information across social media.  People are able to find your content based on the hashtags beneath your post – whether you’re a brand or an individual, hashtags make finding what you’re looking for possible.

Search Trending Topics

Hashtag research allows businesses to find the best, most relatable keywords for your brand.  Most major social media platforms have their own built-in tool that helps users to see what’s trending at that moment. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all highlight topics or hashtags that people are talking about. Just remember, using popular hashtags that are totally irrelevant to your business could harm your credibility, so stick to tags that relate to your brand.

Hashtags Digital Marketing
Hashtags Digital Marketing
Hashtags Twitter Trends
Hashtags Pinterest

Relevant hashtags are the #key

The best piece of advice when considering what hashtags to use for your social media posts is to look at what other businesses in your field are doing. Be specific with your hashtags – if you’re promoting a blog post, starting or joining a conversation online, ensure your hashtags are relevant rather than vague. Similarly, keep it simple – try not to spam users with too many or repetitive hashtags. If you have an upcoming launch or event, try and create a hashtag that is unique to your brand. Use it in promotional materials – Facebook posts, Tweets, Instagrams or Pinterest pins – to increase knowledge of your business, along with brand recognition. Hashtag research is important when creating a social media marketing strategy – a quick search of your proposed tag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can highlight those tags that you really shouldn’t use. For example, any tags that are used across multiple industries will mean that, even if your likes and followers are increasing, you’ll likely be gaining the wrong followers.

Consider Post Volume

Even if you feel like you have found the perfect hashtag for you post, too many uses of that hashtag may mean that your message can get lost. Do some research before posting –  hashtags that have been used less than a million times are best as when using high volume hashtags, your posts may not make an impact and will quickly be pushed down newsfeeds and trending topic feeds. Much like in on-site SEO, using a mixture of both long-tail and short-tail keywords as hashtags is best – while long-tail keywords have fewer overall posts, they tend to attract the most promising visitors who are searching for more specific terms.

Create a hashtag list

Once you’ve completed your hashtag research, make a detailed list of all the tags depending on the type of content you’re publishing. Different tags for different days of the week or region-specific hashtags always perform well. Test out your different lists to see what works best, what hashtags encourage the most engagement, and which tags result in what type of followers. The ultimate strategy will utilise hashtags that our target audience are already using.

Use the correct number of hashtags for the platform

While many of us are often tempted to cram our posts full of hashtags, in the hope that it will increase the organic reach of our content, spamming your posts can often lead to the wrong kind of followers. Brands want to locate and connect with a high-quality, brand appropriate audience. In actual fact, the number of hashtags you use depends on the social platform – over, or under, use of hashtags can have a negative impact on your post.

All research is from Trak Maven:

Tweets with one hashtag get the most engagement

Despite Twitter recently expanding its character count to 280, rather than the previous 140, the relatively small limit means that, unlike Instagram or Facebook posts, messages are restricted. This means that the more hashtags you use, the smaller the size of your message can be.

Instagram posts with nine hashtags perform best

While Instagram has a limit of 30 hashtags per post, posts that use hashtags get more likes and comments, with the optimal number of tags being 9.Trak Maven has also found that hashtags that perform best are 21 characters in length,  with an average engagement of 30,394 interactions per post – performing 2.5x as well as posts that use just 1 hashtag.

Facebook posts that have one hashtag perform best

Facebook posts that have more than one hashtag seem to decline in average interactions per post, while engagement sees a huge decline when posts have more than six hashtags. Research also shows that hashtags perform best when they have 10 to 17 characters.

Need to talk about your Hashtag Marketing Strategy?

Do you need help with your Social Media Marketing strategy? Not sure where to begin? We understand Digital Marketing and can help your brand to reach its full potential.

Our team of Social Media experts have helped clients across a number of different industries to create and implement strategies – whether you’re looking to increase engagement, grow your followers or improve sales, we can help. No matter your budget or business goals, we can help you to achieve great results that will stand the test of time.

So, if you’re looking for someone to take over your Social Media Marketing, or are simply looking for some help, contact SEO Yorkshire today!

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01226 720 756

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