Social media marketing has really exploded to its real potential over the last few years. Hashtags, no doubt, have played a fundamental role in this transition.
Using hashtags on social media to market one’s brand has been the talk of the town. Everyone is using it. So, if you are a marketer who still on the fence about using hashtags, you have come to the right place.
Before digging in deep, let us start with the basics.
What is a hashtag?
A hashtag may be defined as a term or a collection of terms used after the # symbol. In technical terms, it is a type of metadata tag.(#blog, #socialmedia, #content).
Hashtags are generally found on different social media platforms. People use hashtags on social media to separate, categorize, and find content with a specific theme or nature.
In marketing terms, hashtags allow brands to engage with their audience. Marketers run social media campaigns with selected hashtags to increase engagement.
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the leading social media platforms where hashtags are used extensively.
Here are some vital points to consider while carving out your hashtag marketing strategy.
Stay Up To Date with the Trends
One of the best ways to stand out of competition is to use something which is already trending. A trending hashtag denotes a topic or event which is very popular in a given time frame.
Brands must be aware of such trends because they can use it for their own good. You may use a trending hashtag which relates to your business. When you use a trending hashtag in your tweet, you expand the reach and visibility of your content.
With trending hashtags, you will reach people who are not your followers and hence you market your product better.
You can use tools like Hashtagify to keep a check on trending topics. Generally, Twitter shows you the trends on the left-hand side of your desktop screens.
Once you come across trending hashtags which are somehow associated with your business or brand, you need to write some content and include that hashtag.
Do Proper Hashtag Research
Finding hashtags which work for you may be tricky. Before using any hashtag in your content, you need to make sure that it would be appropriate for you. You need to analyze some metrics before opting for a particular hashtag:
- The number of posts using that hashtag
- The popularity of the hashtag on the platform
- The frequency of posts using that hashtag
- The engagement on posts using the hashtag
Once you are satisfied with the above metrics about a particular hashtag, you are good to go. You can use hashtag analytics tools for better and deeper insights on hashtags.
Pro Tip: with Instagram, you can simply type in a search term(hashtag) and it will show you all posts using that hashtags.
One more thing to be kept in mind is the active engagement of your audience with your hashtags. If there is no engagement, you are doomed. Avoiding controversial hashtags which could defame your brand is another best practice.
Cherish the Festivities
There is no better time to engage with your fans than the festival season and holidays. Using themed hashtags related to festivals and event can be a big engagement booster for your brand.
You just need to make sure that you use the festive hashtag in the right context. The more related it will be to your business, the more engagement it will drive in.
The thing with celebratory hashtags is that people love to share such content. This sharing phenomenon can help your post or tweet to go viral. Another thing is that there are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to holidays and festivals. You just need to choose the events which are closely related to your business and post accordingly.
There are tons of examples where brands use this tactic to market their products effectively.
Use Branded Hashtags
This might just prove to be the difference for your business. Yes, you can use your own brand name as a hashtag to spread the word. The hashtag must be something unique which reminds people of your brand.
It can be the existing tagline of your brand or a short phrase which resonates well with your company. People should easily refer to your business using your branded hashtag across all social media platforms.
The motive behind using branded hashtags is to form a unique recognizable identity for your brand. This will allow your audience to call out to you amongst the crowd. Whenever your audience wants to connect with you on social media, they can use the hashtag.
The proposed hashtag should be short, sweet, and easy to remember. For instance, if your brand’s name is MakeWebBetter, then you can use the hashtag #mwb. Businesses around the world have used branded hashtags to form a community and now it’s your turn to do so.
Do Competitor Analysis
This is another way to stand out from the pack. In fact, this shows how well you have done your homework for the task. Analyzing all hashtags being used by your competitors gives you a more complete view of where you stand.
This makes a lot of sense as your competitors have already done the hard work. You need to capitalize and use the existing data to carve out own hashtags.
Here are some points to consider while you spy on your competitors:
- The hashtags they are using
- The kind of posts in which these hashtags are being used
- User engagement on these campaigns
Firstly, you can manipulate all the above data to start your own campaign with new hashtags. Secondly, you may across some cool ideas which did not strike you initially.
Save Yourself From Spam
Nobody likes spam and your audience is no different. Even if you are delivering good content, spamming your posts with every single hashtag available is not advisable.
There is trust that connects your followers with you. They like your brand and your posts for a reason. So, it is your duty to maintain that trust and not spam your posts with every single hashtag there ever was.
This is because we all know what will happen next. This applies to us as well. We generally are not fond of spammy posts with a lot of hashtags that are not related to the content.
So what do we do next?
Yes, you guessed it right. We will probably unfollow the account or in some cases, we might block it as well.
As a business, you need to make sure that your brand image is not affected by spammy hashtags in posts. It takes a lot of time and effort to build a reputable image for your business but it will only take some irrelevant and spammy posts to ruin the name.
Measure the Effectiveness
This point is as important as any of the above. After all the hard work that you have put into planning out a unique hashtag strategy, it is of paramount importance that you keep a check on your hashtag campaigns.
Measuring the results of your campaigns will allow you to make changes for the good. You will know what is working for you and what is not. Without analyzing the success of your hashtag campaigns, you will not be sure of what to do next.
There are a lot of analytical tools which you can use to analyze your campaigns and be a step ahead. You must take note of the engagement your hashtagged posts drive in and your follower count. While monitoring your hashtag campaign, you may also come in touch with different influencers in your niche.
This will allow you to interact and connect with your audience on a whole new different level.
Over to you!
Hashtag marketing is quite underrated. We may not realize it but there is a lot of potential in hashtag marketing. Using the correct hashtags on social media can do a world of good to your audience engagement and interaction. Even if you have a good number of followers on social media, keeping them connected and moulding them into a community is not a piece of cake.
Proper planning with a sound social media strategy can lift your brand’s image. Using hashtags is centric to any social media strategy and the proper use of hashtags will allow you to market your business better on social media.
Himanshu Rauthan is an entrepreneur, Co-Founder at MakeWebBetter, BotMyWork and the Director of CEDCOSS Technologies. He has worn many hats in his career – a programmer, researcher, writer, and strategist. As a result, he has a unique ability to manage multi-disciplinary projects and navigate complex challenges. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.