Hashtags! They're such a seemingly simple thing, but they're vital for helping people find things on social media.
If you are a social media person, you've definitely seen them. Sometimes, posts actually have more hashtags than normal text. Interestingly, they started out as a techy way to organize and start conversations. They've since grown to become the building blocks of social media marketing.
While social media platforms that utilize hashtags actual work as a hashtag aggregator tool by gathering all relevant posts during a search, you can specify your own hashtags to create your own unique social media feed.
Are Hashtags Really That Important?
While hashtags may seem pointless to a novice, the truth is that they are a powerful tool to help you market your business. This is because they can increase your reach, amplify your brand, and get your content to people who need to see it.
In fact, with hashtags, you have one of the easiest ways of expanding your influence beyond your current audience. By using relevant hashtags, people searching for those keywords can easily find your post and updates and might follow your brand.
Hashtags aren't just some simple fad. Instead, they help to drastically increase engagement. That's why businesses focus so much on picking the right hashtags and trying to create their own trending hashtags. HubSpot analyzed popular hashtags on Twitter and found that some of those hashtags led over a 1,000% increase in engagement.
While the original idea to use the # sign to group conversations started with the chat client IRC in the late 1990s (bonus points if you remember using that one), it didn't become trendy until 2007 when Chris Messina suggested using # signs
to tag and group conversations. Since then, hashtags have become the best way to help social media users find related content and conversations.
If your brand is using the right hashtags and gathering related content, your customers and followers are going to see you as a leader in your industry.
Now that you know that hashtags are an essential marketing and engagement tool, it's time to take a look at what exactly a hashtag aggregator tool does. Then, we'll let you in on the secrets of picking the right hashtags.
Using A Hashtag Aggregator Tool
A social media network is essentially one massive hashtag aggregator tool. When you use the search function to find a keyword or phrase, the results pull not only phrases from posts, but matching and related hashtags.
However, you want to be a little more specific. For instance, maybe you only want to gather posts with hashtags about wildlife conservation to match your brand's mission to create a more sustainable future. This is where a hashtag aggregator tool can help.
You choose just the hashtags you want (more on how to pick the right hashtags coming right up). Then, the tool pulls just those hashtags from your chosen networks. You embed the feed on your website or even at an event or conference. This increases engagement and helps establish your brand as a go-to source of information.
Remember, you don't always have to be the one posting something new and innovative. Just gathering the conversations together is a great engagement and marketing strategy.
Choosing The Right Hashtags
Obviously, you've got to choose the right hashtags or you're not going to aggregate the best possible content. So, without further ado, here's how it's done:
1. Learn from influencers
Influencers play a crucial role when it comes to marketing brands. Therefore, searching for influencers in your niche might be helpful. Through them, you can quickly identify the most successful hashtags relevant to your brand and use them.
If you're struggling to find influeners or aren't sure what type of influencers have the most pull in your industry, consider using Alexa's guide on influencer marketing
or Orbit Media Studio's guide to finding influencers
2. Use Social Media Tools
Most social media platforms that use hashtags also provide tools to show you what's currently trending. For instance, when you log in to Twitter, you'll see a list of currently trending hashtags. While that doesn't mean you should use those, if you see something relevant to your campaign or brand, it may be worth checking out.
If nothing else, you may just find other relevant hashtags that work better. You should also look at any social media analytics (within the network's settings). These often list trending hashtags and even hashtags relevent to your brand.
3. Use Third-Party Tools
Before you start using a hashtag aggregator tool, you'll likely want to do some hashtag research to discover the right hashtags. When you can't find what you need through a social media network's tools, opt for third-party tools.
Don't worry about your budget. There are numerous free and low-cost options to discover and monitor hashtags to find what's best for your brand. These help you find hashtags to aggregate and which ones to use for your own posts. A few great lists to get you started include:
Of course, you can also use your hashtag aggregator tool to help find the right hashtags. Pick a few that are relevant to your brand and then monitor the posts to see what other hashtags are trending in your niche. Curator.io even offers a free version
to help you find hashtags easily without a major investment.
4. Know Your Hashtag
Just because a hashtag is popular, it doesn’t mean that it is going to be helpful to you. Sometimes a trending hashtag may not be suitable for your brand image. Therefore before you settle for the hashtag to use, research it to ensure it fits the type of conversation you want.
Such due diligence ensures that whatever hashtag you use is beneficial to your business. Otherwise, you end up supporting inappropriate circumstances or raunchy campaigns that can be harmful to your business.
5. Find a Unique Hashtag
Start your own conversation and campaign by creating your own unique hashtag. Select a tagline that is catchy, unique, and resonates with your target audience.
While there are numerous hashtags already out there, you can indeed create something unique with a little effort. Just use a third-party hashtag analytics tool or your hashtag aggregation tool to research if a hashtag is already being used.
6. Have a Clear Hashtag
Besides being unique, it is paramount that the hashtag is clear when it comes to the message it relays. It should match the event or campaign you intend to use it in. Don’t let it be vague or ambiguous.
A hashtag that is not very clear on the message it's relaying might end up relaying the wrong message. For example, the case of the Susan Boyle hashtag, where her PR team decided to use the hashtag #susanalbumparty, read it with a dirty mind and you get the importance of a clear hashtag.
To drive the point home, also check this example: #therapist. A simple hashtag, yet it may convey the wrong meaning. What the user really meant was “Therapist,” but it was interpreted by some people as “The Rapist.” Just make sure your audience understands your hashtag without confusion whatsoever.
7. Keep It Short And Simple
Remember the simpler it is, the easier it is to understand. Not to mention, the easier it is for others to use. That is why it is advisable to keep your hashtags short and straightforward. Lengthy hashtags tend to be difficult to read. Therefore avoid them as much as possible.
Try to keep your hashtag less than 10 characters. Also, consider using one hashtag for each campaign. For your hashtag to pick up momentum quickly, it should not take much of the audience's time trying to understand it. If it's difficult to understand, many people will end up skipping it.
8. Make the Hashtag Relevant
The primary reason for using hashtags is to grow your audience reach. Therefore, if your hashtag is not relaying information relevant to your brand, you have already lost the race. The hashtag you use should be able to relate to your services and products.
You cannot just use any popular hashtag. If you are not careful, you may end up promoting somebody else just because you were not diligent enough when choosing your hashtag.
Note that, once you are using a hashtag you should never leave it unattended. This is because a hashtag, whether new or old, might easily take a detour and go in the direction you least expected. Thanks to technology, you can use tools such as Curator.io to monitor your hashtags.
Also, promote your hashtag in order for it to get the traffic it needs. Put it in your products, mention it in your commercials, and get people to use it in their tweets, Instagram posts, and Facebook’s posts. Get the word out there to as many people as possible and then let it work for you.
Remember, the success of hashtags is unique to each social media channel, be it Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. Therefore you can get better results by customizing your content to suit each channel instead of posting the same content on every network.
Hashtags play a significant role in marketing your products and services. When used well, they are a powerful tool that can enable you to increase your market reach and boost your brand. So, if you have not been using hashtags, now it’s your turn to start using them. To reap maximum benefits; ensure you also select the best social media wall solution to help you display your content and engage your audience