4 Ways to Improve Brand Discovery and Visibility on Social Media

Social media is dense, and getting noticed is hard. Here are a few hacks to maximize your discovery and visibility. Practice these ideas consistently and you will have yourself a formidable social presence.

It is important to collaborate with employees, customers and fans.

For your message to travel on social media, it has to be carried by people. What most companies overlook is that they already have their people on social media – employees and customers.

1. Make social advocates off of enthusiastic employees

Social Employee Advocacy is when your employees advocate your brand on social media by sharing promotional content. When implemented the right way employee advocacy could increase your visibility by as much as 561%.

Why this matters

Of all representatives of a brand on social media, its employees are the most influential. Plus, they have more social connections ( put together) than the brand does, and are also more credible (brands are considered commercial by default).

How to make it happen

Begin by getting them excited about representing the company. Show them how their efforts can help build a brand. Recognize employees’ participation and include incentives. You could use DrumUp Employee Advocacy Platform which has a built in points system and leader board for employee engagement.

If you’re getting multiple promotional shares it also has to be supplemented with other useful industry related content, or your employees’ shares might be blind sighted as commercial…

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Curating top notch content is hard, but its easier when you’re using a reliable algorithm to do it for you. DrumUp’s platform also lets you curate content and share it with your employees, apart from uploading the promotional content that you have created.

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A sound balance for social media success.

When implementing employee advocacy, run a pilot. Share different formats of content with a set of messages and see which types of content:

a. Get most shares by employees
b. Receive most engagement on social media

And then implement the program on a large scale.

2. Happy customers equal valuable social capital

Happy customers incite trust in potential customers. Get content out of happy customers on social media and you have valuable social capital that could persuade more people to give you a try. According to a study, 71% customers have admitted that they make purchases based on social media recommendations.

It isn’t easy to convince people to put in work, but set your activity around the right motivators and you can get your audience to follow suit.

– Create a fun contest that requires taking a picture with your product
– Have one that makes them use your product creatively
– Do a run of the mill story writing contest
– Turn customer testimonials into powerful social media posts
– Share success stories of customers to encourage people to use your product
– Use FAQ on your website to create a useful blog post
– Communicate frequently with valuable customers on your social profiles

There are several great examples of social media campaigns to generate content from customers, but these are my favorite.

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3. Friend your fans and encourage them to share

Don’t ignore your fans. This seems obvious and unnecessary to say but several brands are so focused on content curation and marketing that they overlook the networking and engagement parts. All the content you post is directed at your audience, so you have to acknowledge their needs, concerns and interests for your content to be successful on social.

– Request people to share, this increases your chances of getting them
– Make your posts conversational and
– Initiate impromptu conversations on your social feed, really get to know your audience

Most importantly, make it easy for them to share your content. The easier it is for them to share, the more likely they are to do it.

Create tweets on your blog posts and create provision for your readers to share it right from there.

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You could also create contests that drive more traffic to your social pages.

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4. Make your social content search-friendly and share-worthy

For your content to move on social media it must be discoverable and share-worthy when discovered.

Optimize your content to platform specific search mechanisms.

For instance the hashtags you use on Twitter are critical for visibility. Hashtags categorize and tie together conversations on Twitter.

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Using the right one, or combination of hashtags and you can earn exposure to larger, more relevant and engaged audiences.

To choose the right hashtag you need to know:

a. What’s trending
b. Who’s talking about it

Hashtagify tells you that and more. Leverage Hashtagify’s maps to discover the popularity of hashtags and which influencers are using them so you can ride the wave and make your tweets visible to wider and more specific audiences.

On Facebook and LinkedIn, what you put in your page descriptions matter. Every social media platform has a search engine of its own. Think about what your target audience might search for and include those keywords in your company description so your company page shows up when it should.

One your page does show up, it has got to look good. Make best use of your cover photo space and every other field provided to your for any kind of content.

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When you create or curate content, make it visual. Visual content can’t be compared to plain text. Period.

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Finally, for all your content, remember to orient it towards your viewers, their ideas, their interests rather than your own. Whatever you post, ask yourself if it is useful to your audience and if they will like it before you do.

Author bio

Disha Dinesh is in charge of content at DrumUp. Her interests include social media marketing and content curation.

Introducing Instagram Hashtag Tracking

hashtagify for instagramInstagram is growing like crazy right now. With 400 million active monthly users, it’s fast becoming the go-to social media platform to share images.

Here at Hashtagify, we like to think we keep up with the latest trends. We’re constantly innovating to match what you guys want. When speaking to users, Instagram tracking was a feature that consistently came up. And we listened.

It’s taken a lot of work to get it right, but we’re now ready to introduce Instagram hashtag tracking!

Unlike our competitors, we don’t just consider the posts using the hashtags, but the likes too. This means that we show the true potential reach of hashtags on Instagram, while still finding the top hashtags and top influencers in just a few clicks.

It works pretty much  the same as our Twitter tracking, apart from having some specific numbers relevant to Instagram and a few limitations for now (we’re still in beta).

The feature is available to all of our business and enterprise users. So if you’re on one of those plans, head over to the Hashtags Lab to get tracking.

Not a business or enterprise user but want to explore Instagram tracking? No problem, you can try it out with our risk-free 10 day trial now!

Stay tuned for more Instagram-related updates!


Free Webinar: The Art & Science of Hashtags


We are partnering with the social specialists at TINT to host a live webinar and teach you some tricks to improve your hashtag marketing!

Hashtags can be conquered and this webinar is all about showing you how.

Hosted by Hashtagify.me founder, Dan Mazzini and Jose Gallegos, Community Marketing Lead at TINT, you will get the inside scoop on the strategy behind hashtags. Not only that but this webinar will be full to the brim with useful hints and tips to help you become a hashtag pro.

Interested? Sign up here!

While we’re on the topic of webinars, did you catch the last one we did?

We partnered with BuzzSumo and discussed how to use hashtags for content marketing! You can watch it here.


Hashtags To Reach Parents On Social Media

The online realm has made conversation more instant than ever, and as it had all other things, it has also transformed parenting. Seventy-nine percent (79%) of parents who actively use social media agree that they get useful information from their networks, including 32% who “strongly agree”. According to Pew Research Center surveys, “two-in-five parents who use social media say they got support from their networks for parenting issues over the past month, and mothers who use social media are nearly twice as likely as fathers to say they get support.” More than half (59%) of parents who are social media users said they had come across useful information about parenting while looking at social media content. 7% say this happens “frequently,” while 26% say this occurs “sometimes” and only 26% “hardly ever.”


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For parents who find themselves texting with one hand while juggling the diaper bag, coffee, or keys in the other, hashtags can be a quick way to search for information. This of course creates opportunities for marketers who need to reach parents with their message. To make it easier for you, we’ve rounded up a few of the best parenting hashtags you need to know if you’re interested in this market:

1. #KidsHealth

Among many parenting hashtags, #kidshealth seems to be one of the most useful, as their kids health is always at the top of the mind of parents. In the past few days, this hashtag got an average of 118 tweets per day. We think this is a perfect opportunity to reach the parents market – the hashtag is popular enough to generate a few blog posts across the Internet, but isn’t too popular that your tweets might go unnoticed if you get in on the hashtag.

While it hasn’t yet gone mainstream, you can definitely hop in on the hashtag and take advantage of it.

2. #WhatsForDinner

Although this hashtag is admittedly non-exclusive to parents, it is very much used by this special category of chefs. After cooking meals day after day, sometimes you just can’t seem to figure out what to cook for dinner. For brands which want to reach parents with messages related to nutrition, this can be a very useful venue that goes beyond the most obvious choices.

3. #RaisingAGenius (or #raisingagenius)

All parents are proud of their own kids. #RaisingAGenius is a hashtag used by parents across the globe to show off their children’s advanced skills. Whether doing a clever trick or painting a Van Gogh-looking masterpiece, you’ll find different things kids do that are advanced for their age.


4. #ParentWin

The #ParentWin hashtag is where parents share their parenting wins online. Some examples are successful potty training, getting their kids to eat broccoli, and teaching toddlers a new word. This is a great avenue for brands to butt in and celebrate the success with the parents.

5. #MumQuotes

They say motherhood opens you up to another language. We can’t blame moms – being an adult for years and having to explain the world to a child with a very little vocabulary is no easy feat. #MumQuotes rounds up some of the funniest (and occasionally wise) things moms say.

Social media is a helpful tool for parenting, and that’s why we’re going to see more and more parents use it to find useful suggestions. As more people learn to use hashtags to search what they look for, we expect these to become an even better marketing tool for those who want to reach parents on social media.


How To Get Results Even With Overused Hashtags

On social media, there are thousands of overused hashtags. As we explained in our free guide on using hashtags for marketing, the best ones for you are most likely those which are popular enough but not too popular, and specific to your niche.

However, even the most overused tags can be used in creative and meaningful ways. To show you what we mean, we picked out a couple of the most abused of the overused hashtags, #Selfie and #FoodPorn, and looked for creative examples that could inspire your next campaign.


This hashtag doesn’t need an introduction, does it? We observed it on Twitter for just 3 days (10/11-10/14) and here’s what we found:

Selfie Hashtag Summary 10/11-10/14

That’s a whopping 195,952,576 face impressions in 3 days! There’s gotta be some worth in that, right? Well, our team thinks so, so we went full-on social media geek for you and scoured the Internet for ways your brand can tap into this overworked hashtag (you’re welcome!).

The real genius behind the selfie evolution is how it plays to Gen Y’s narcissistic culture. How can we use this?

a)  Defy conventions

In a world where Photoshop reigns supreme and Kim Kardashian is altering her own bum on Instagram, Dove decided to encourage women to turn this idea of the selfie on its head, publishing pictures that highlight their most disliked feature.

This is exactly what mother and daughter duos do in the short film Dove used to kickstart the campaign, appropriately titled “Selfie” and first presented at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Dove’s own research revealed that 63% of women believe social media is influencing today’s definition of beauty more than print, film, or music. This data contributed to inspire their target market to participate actively and use the campaign’s own hashtag, #BeautyIs, together with the already famous  #selfie, to “help young women redefine what beauty is”.

“The Challenge. Take an Honest Selfie. No Filters. No Edits.”



It’s no wonder that the video went viral and its two versions reached a total of almost 7 million views. Going against the grain of a big hashtag worked well for Dove, and in the process it also helped the larger movement to empower women to redefine the traditional perception of beauty using the selfie.

b)  Use the power of irony

Can you create a very ironic and surprising selfie about your product? This can really get attention. Take the cue from Star Wars’ Instagram account:

#Selfie #StarWars #DarthVader

c)  Contests

This is a well known option, but we couldn’t skip it. Contests are a very powerful way to get people to participate in your campaign and get more word-of-mouth advertising, like the one  Kenneth Cole that ran from January 31 to March 31, 2014.

Keneth Cole Contest

Here, people had to follow the official account and use the #DressForYourSelfie hashtag to join the contest, together with #selfie. Attaching to an existing and very relevant hashtag, the contest was able to gain a higher visibility, faster.


With over 220 million impressions from 89,224 tweets in a week, #FoodPorn is still as widely used (if not more) today than on its debut a few years back. 90 photos are uploaded with the Instagram hashtag #foodporn every single minute.

FoodPorn Hashtag Summary

Even if this hashtag is mostly used by food blogs and average social media Joes to share pictures of food that want to make you cry and say sorry to your diet, it is possible to use it creatively.

a)  Turn it into a social cause

Nothing encourages goodwill better than social causes. People love knowing they can contribute to society, so when you encourage your audience to do something for the greater good, it resonates more than a completely self-serving suggestion.

Hijacking the #foodporn feed, #MealforAMeal is how Virgin Mobile together with OzHarvest kickstarted their campaign to turn the contemporary #foodporn obsession  into a social cause.

Virgin Mobile Image

So far, there have been 300,396 posts that have been turned into a meal by Virgin Mobile. Find out more about this campaign here: http://www.makingmobilebetter.com.au/meal-for-a-meal

b)  Use a great call-to-action

Even when a hashtag is overused, and it’s very difficult to do something people will notice among all those posts, a good way to differentiate yourself is by using a powerful and relevant call to action, like in these two examples:


It’s like passing along leaflets in a very crowded street – even if you’ll be seen by only a small percentage of passers by, at least with those you have a good chance to make an impact.

c)  Make it a series

Reynolds, a popular foil brand aimed to piggyback on the #foodporn hashtag by creating a series of recipe posts. Reynolds knew their target market are into food, so they developed a simple idea that would allow them to post consistently and on-topic using this hashtag. Drip by drip, this a good way to find a bigger audience even amid an ocean of other posts – but it requires patience and dedication.

Food Series

In conclusion, even overused hashtags can help your marketing campaign. It’s just a matter of creativity and knowing how to position your brand in that context. We hope we helped you get some inspiration. Happy hashtagging!

#HeForShe: How much does the Internet remember?

Can a social media marketing campaign have a long-term impact on important topics? This is exactly what UN Women tried to achieve with their #HeForShe effort, launched on last year’s International Women’s day to attack yet another time the very serious and long-standing issue of sexism. We want to analyze what’s left of this big campaign one year and a half later.

Even if the official launch was on 8 March 2014, the big splash was only achieved on September 20th, a full six months later. And this splash came when Emma Watson became the face of the movement, thanks to a momentous speech at the UN general assembly.

The big splash moment

Who could ignore Hermione Granger’s highly televised “formal invitation” to men to stand up for the rights of women – which was the central message of the campaign? Generation Y, the major demographic of social media users, also known as the millennial generation, basically grew up with Watson so we could see why she was the perfect face for the movement.

Before Watson’s appeal, the campaign tweets count was in the tens of thousands. But, just two weeks after her presentation, the hashtag #HeForShe had generated 1.1 million tweets from 750,000 different users, with a potential reach of over a hundred of millions people on Twitter alone.

In the social media flurry that followed, there were a lot of celebrities that helped in on the campaign. Here’s a refresher:




Even Twitter itself participated in the stand against gender discrimination, painting the hashtag inside their HQ in San Francisco, California.


There was also the incredibly supportive compliment from Tom Hiddleston, everyone’s favorite Avenger-nemesis, Thor’s brother. This tweet was so popular it even headlined several articles on the Internet, including Buzzfeed’s.

Now this account doesn’t technically fall into the “celebrity”category, but if we’re talking influential, you have to give @WhiteHouse some credit.


But, after such a big boost, how much does the Internet remember today? Did the message get through enough to still be relevant?

Exactly one year after Emma Watson’s speech last year, as expected, the Twitter activity is much lower. But it’s still surprisingly high; and the anniversary itself brought a notable bump, as you can see in the chart below.

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(Twitter data for 9/10-9/24 2015)


If you haven’t guessed it yet, the main reason for that bump was a tweet by Emma Watson herself on the 15th. But that was actually a retweet of a message from the official account for the campaign, @HeForShe:


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As you can imagine, even a single tweet on target (using the hashtag) from a celebrity with more than 19 million Twitter followers creates a big impact:

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(Twitter data for 9/10-9/24 2015)


In the chart above, computed for the period between Sept. 10 to Sept. 24, you can see that Watson’s retweet was itself retweeted 1,045 times, and she was mentioned 2,988 times together with the #HeForShe hashtag – a demonstration of just how big an influencer she still is in this campaign. This explains why, as you can see from the chart below, taken from our Hashtags Lab analysis, she is the second top influencer, only after @HeForShe:

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Prior to the day of the anniversary, between September 15th and 19th, there were 5709 total original tweets (not counting retweets).

As usual, the catalyzer of the activity was @HeForShe. For example, on the 16th, there were 681 total tweets, and the top one yet another retweet of by @caitlinwithac of one of the official campaign’s account messages:

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On the day of the speech’s anniversary itself last 9/20 there were 1532 total tweets, a good recovery from the decline in the day prior. Have you guessed who the top tweet was from?

It’s not Emma, not @HeForShe, but @EmWatsonUpdates – a fan made account for updates and events in Emma Watson’s career. We almost wish we were as popular as miss Watson so someone else can do the tweeting for us when we forget to do it on an important day!

Now after the day has gone and the dust has settled, who else is tweeting about #HeForShe?

Let’s look at the data for 9/21. We found that there were 1136 total tweets, the top one, again by @HeForShe, in an attempt to piggyback on #Dubsmash and asking users to create videos of their favorite parts of Emma Watson’s speech.


As expected, there was a gradual drop in tweets in the days that followed, with both days owing their top tweets to @UN_Women:



And this is exactly the point we wanted to get to. Having a big testimonial like Emma Watson – and her friends – is great, but the real long-term impact wouldn’t have been possible without the constant effort of the #HeForShe social media team, mainly channelled through their dedicated, homonymous @HeForShe account. These are their stats for 9/15 to 9/23:

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As you can see, it’s them who are doing the hard work and promoting the movement all year round. Even for the anniversary, it was @HeForShe that originally sent out the tweet that @emwatson retweeted last week; and that’s why our Hashtags Lab shows that account as the top Influencer for the hashtag, even if they only have 258,454 followers – much less than the celebrities who are constantly helping them.

Campaign Success – One Year Later

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In the end, in the two weeks we analyzed between September 10 and 24, 2015, there were a total of 12,051 tweets by 8,761 unique users. That’s about 1% of the total garnered tweets from last year, but it means that in just two weeks the campaign still generated 59 million potential unique impressions. And, just as importantly, there are lots of men using the hashtag as we have observed above, which is the main purpose of the movement – to get men involved.


One obvious conclusion of this analysis is that having a great testimonial really helps – without Emma Watson’s UN speech, #HeForShe would probably have continued just as in the previous 6 months. Influencer marketing clearly works.

But the less obvious conclusion, interesting also for those social media managers who can’t get a big name testimonial to speak at the UN General Assembly, is that having a dedicated account for a campaign, constantly keeping the fire up under the kettle, can really make a big difference.

@HeForShe was able to do just that, constantly putting out great content and proactively engaging their target audience. This is a good reminder that if content is king, then consistency is certainly queen.

Hashtags As Labeled Rooms Where Communities Meet

Last time we spoke about hashtags as labeled sections on a bulletin board. This is a good analogy when you think about disseminating messages that you want to draw attention to. But the bulletin board analogy doesn’t reflect the “social” aspect of social networks.

As a matter of fact, hashtags aren’t just a fundamental tool to broadcast information to the right audience; they’re also a great tool to find and meet people who share your interests – both personal and professional ones. Among these people you can find those that can help you extend your influence through their own larger audiences, therefore further amplifying and endorsing your message.

To visualize this point of view, a much more fitting analogy are the rooms of a club.


It’s no coincidence that the inspiration for adding hashtags to Twitter came from chatrooms. When Twitter was small and users were few, having genuine conversations was much more prevalent than it is today. Chris Messina, the inventor of the hashtag, suggested to adopt this convention exactly to create “rooms” where you could discuss specific subjects even with people you didn’t know yet.

This helped creating many interest-based communities. Hashtags allowed you to discover like-minded people and then connect with them. People who had something interesting to share could easily build a following and meaningful relationships. With the gargantuan size of today’s Twitter – and that of the other major social networks – this is a much rarer event, but not all is lost!

Room Types: The Public Square

The biggest rooms – the most popular hashtags – don’t look like rooms at all. They rather resemble big and noisy squares with hordes of people incessantly coming and going, and all of them wanting attention!


In these rooms/squares there is usually very little sense of community, if at all, and, if you asked who are the leaders/influencers, you would mostly come out with some out-of-reach celebrities that from time to time come to grace the onlookers with their hyper-amplified messages and maybe get a buzz going for a few hours.

For most marketers and communicators, finding meaningful connections in these places is really a hit-and-miss game – with much more misses than hits. Try your chance if you want, but our suggestion is to focus on much better playing fields.

Most viral hashtags, hashtags about current world events, and very general interest subjects generate Public Square “rooms”.

Room Types: The Specialty Room

Some subjects, like for example data visualization techniques or embroidery, have an inherently smaller audience. But also the subjects with the broadest appeal, like music or news, have more specialized sub-subjects of various niche levels; think classical music or Vatican City local news.


It is at this smaller – and especially niche – level that healthy online communities can still form around one or more specific hashtags, forming their own specialty rooms.

These thriving communities have their own unwritten rules, and, most often, some widely recognized reference points – their top influencers. Here you can also build your own significant, or at least useful, relationships.

This will usually require a healthy investment in time, resource and budget too, but if you find the right hashtags and communities, it will give you the highest long-term return. We’ll go into more details in future lessons, but the general process can be summarized in these steps:

  • Find some right-sized and well functioning communities in your field of interest, and their rooms/hashtags
  • Find their influencers, study them and learn the unwritten rules and conventions
  • Participate and add value to the community, without focusing too much on yourself and your message
  • Strike significant relationship, always keeping an eye on the top influencers that are within your reach, but without focusing only on them

Room Types: The Branded Room

Until now, we focused mostly on industry/interest hashtags, which usually come from the bottom up in a completely organic way. A different case is the campaign hashtag, purposefully created and steered by some organization or business. This brings us to the branded room.


The biggest difference between these rooms and the former ones is that here we have somebody who worked hard to invite people to their room and keep them engaged. And somebody who, if successful, is officially recognized by most members as the leader of the community. Somebody who also had a specific goal in mind for this community.

The situation that interests us now is when you’re not the one who built the room. So, is it possible to create meaningful relationships here? The short answer is: Yes, if the room still resembles the specialty room we talked about before, with a thriving community, and if your goals aren’t in direct conflict with the creators’ ones. The same process can still apply.

But what if your goals are conflicting with the creators’? Well, depending on the situation, you could either find other rooms… or you could try to hijack it. But that is another story and shall be told another time.

And before we finish, we’ll quickly mention two special cases of branded hashtags/rooms: the event hashtag, and the Twitter chat. For different reasons, these two cases are very relevant, and we’ll talk about these in the lesson about the hashtags lifecycles.


Congratulations! You have finished the introductory part of our Advanced Marketing course. We’re still writing the next lessons, which will be more practical how-tos about various common tasks for social media marketers.

But you don’t need to wait if you want to apply the concepts we explained. You can start from our Labs, which include guided tours and detailed guides to, among other things:

  • Automatically get hashtags suggestions from the “sweet spot”, in our Users Lab
  • Analyze a hashtag and find it’s top influencers to connect to in our Hashtags Lab

Hashtag Marketing: Hashtags as Bulletin Board Labeled Sections

From a marketer’s (or, in general, communicator’s) point of view, there are two main ways to looks at hashtags:

  • As labeled sections on a bulletin board
  • As labeled rooms where people meet


It is very useful to keep in mind this distinction when dealing with hashtags; in this first lesson of the advanced course, we’ll focus on the first point of view and what this can teach us about choosing hashtags.

Bulletin Board Labeled Sections

As we explained in greater detail in the 101 course, the original use of hashtags is to highlight what the subject of a message is. This is very important in public places where everybody can send their messages – eg, on a public bulletin board in a University.


If you want your message to be found by people who would be interested in what you’re talking about and don’t already know you, where would you like to post your message? On the left side of the board, or the right one?

Not using a hashtag is just like pinning your message on the left side – on a board that has millions of new messages posted every day, so your own will get submerged in a matter of seconds.

And what about choosing exactly which hashtags to use? It’s pretty obvious that you should choose labels where your message will be relevant; that is necessary, but not sufficient on its own to maximise your reach. The size of the labeled section is also very important.


Our Hashtags Encyclopedia on hashtagify.me gives a 0-100 popularity rating to each hashtag. In our analogy, the popularity is proportional to the size of the section of the bulletin board dedicated to the label/hashtag.

Too Popular

A very popular hashtag has lots of people looking at it, and a lot of dedicated real estate on the bulletin board – but it also has hundreds of thousands of messages posted to it every day.

In our bulletin board analogy, there is a board administrator – let’s call it Twitter Search – who is continually managing the messages on the board, pinning to the top for a longer time only the messages that are either a very important poster, or that immediately get a lot of acclaim from onlookers.


So, unless you’re some kind of celebrity, incredibly good at catching attention, or very lucky, posting to a very popular section/hashtag will mean that your message will be submerged after a few seconds or minutes. Almost as if you had posted the message under no label at all.

Not Popular Enough

At the other end of the spectrum, there are sections of our board that are so little known, that nobody ever looks at them. If you post there, your message could stay at or near the top for a very long time, but nobody will see it anyway. This is what happens 99% of the time when people create their own hashtags without giving them a valuable reason to search for it, and/or without promoting it enough – you’ll own your hashtag, but nobody is looking at that part of the board – it’s wasted space (and time).

The Sweet Spot

For most people, the sweet spot lies somewhere in the middle. You want hashtags that are:

  • Very relevant to your content
  • Popular enough that people are actively searching for them
  • Not too popular compared to your current clout – so that your messages have a chance to be seen


At a practical level, this means that it usually pays off to search for many specialized hashtags in your field that have a popularity of at least 25/30 on hashtagify.me, and to alternate them in your tweets/instagrams etc. Depending on your personal clout and on how popular your field is in general, it can also make sense to use the more general hashtags for that field, especially if their popularity is below 80.

These rankings provide a guide, but to really optimize for your specific situation you should experiment and measure your results. We’ll see in a later lesson how using our pro Users Lab features can make both finding the specialized hashtags and measuring the results of your experiments much easier, but this is also something that you can do manually just using our free Encyclopedia and keeping count of the retweets and likes you get, if you have enough time to invest in this.


This first advanced hashtag marketing lesson laid down the first part basic concepts that guided us in building our Hashtagify tools. The next lesson will explain the second half – if you want to read it now free on hashtagify.me.

PS: Did you know that you can easily compare the popularity of different hashtags for the last 2 months? Check out our Hashtags Encyclopedia guide

Hashtags 101: Hashtags Are Free-For-All, But…

At least for now, on Twitter and the other major social platforms that support hashtags, anybody can use any hashtag they want, any way they want. You can even invent a hashtag on the spot, just by adding the hash/pound (#) symbol in front of any word, combination of words, or random sequence of characters and numbers – as long as the sequence doesn’t contain spaces or punctuation.

One important thing to know is that, when you search for a hashtag on Twitter, the search engine ignores character capitalization – #WORD is the same as #word. But for your readers, capitalization is very important: when you use hashtags made from more words, be sure to capitalise the first letter of each word. This will make the hashtag much easier to read, and will avoid possible misinterpretation.


The Grassroots Origin of the Hashtag

When in 2007 Chris Messina first proposed to use hashtags on Twitter to show that a tweet belonged to a specific grouping, this started as a completely grassroots convention. Even if Twitter didn’t give any special status to hashtags until two years later, they still worked well for this goal, because only one thing was required: if you search for posts containing #Word, the search should only show you posts with #Word, and not those with “Word” without the hash.

This still remains the core of the hashtag: a convention to show that your post is specifically about #Something, instead of one where you just mentioned the word “something” in passing. And an easy way for anybody to find all the posts about #Something.


When their use was already wide among early adopters, Twitter started adding some specific features to make it easier to use hashtags. First, it automatically highlighted all hashtags, and made them clickable to easily search all the tweets for that hashtag. Then, it started prominently showing a list of the top trending hashtags.

These two simple additions made hashtags evident for everybody, not only those in the know, and Twitter immediately became a much more useful platform for discovering interesting trends and topics. A few years later, all the other major social platforms added the same, or similar, features.

OK, you can. But should you?

Let’s sum it up: any combination of characters or numbers, without spaces or punctuation, that begins with the hash symbol, is a hashtag. You are free to use any hashtags you want in your posts, and, when you do so, that hashtag will become highlighted and clickable for the reader to easily find all the other tweets using that hashtag. Last, when people search for that hashtag, they could find your post. So, should you use any possible hashtag in your posts?


As you might have already guessed (or read elsewhere), the answer is no. Why not? Because using random hashtags is considered spam, and has many more downsides than upsides.

First of all, if people search for #This, and find your tweet that talks about #That, but where you also hashtagged the word #This just to increase your findability, at best they will ignore you. At worst, they will mark you as a spammer, and if enough people do this your content will become penalised by Twitter and most other platforms.

Second, even your followers and other people who are actually interested in #That, and who could like your content, aren’t going to appreciate you using irrelevant hashtags – and even using too many relevant hashtags will irritate many people, who could stop following you just for this reason.

According to most research, the optimal number of relevant hashtags for a post with interesting content on Twitter is 2 or 3 (on Instagram you can actually use more). But how do you define “relevant”?

Hashtags Relevancy

How to actually choose the right hashtags will be the subject of entire future lessons. But the basic principle can be summed up in just three words: meet people’s expectations.

If a user searches for the hashtag #PhotoOfTheDay, what does she expect to find? In this case it’s pretty obvious: an interesting picture. So, if you’re posting a beautiful picture of your backyard taken today, this hashtag is highly relevant. This isn’t enough to say that you should use this hashtag to get the best results, but it’s enough to say that you can use it and not get any backlash.


Many people think that a hashtag like #PhotoOfTheDay would also be great for a post sharing an article about cameras. After all, many people interested in photos are also interested in cameras… but when somebody searches for #PhotoOfTheDay, his expectation is definitely not to find articles about cameras.

That user could find your article interesting if he found it at the right time, but if you do not meet his expectations when he executes his search, you’re much more likely to get no reaction at all, or even a negative reaction. And always remember that your followers will judge your hashtags and your respect for readers. So, don’t fall into temptation, and when in doubt always try to think what would your expectation be if you searched for a given hashtag.


Congratulations! You have finished our Hashtags 101 course. The next lesson will be published next week for the Advanced Hashtags course, where we’re going to start delving deeper into the secrets of hashtag marketing.

But you can read it now, together with all the other Hashtag Marketing lessons, if you sign up free for hashtagify.me: just go here!