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What is a Hashtag?
A hashtag is a word or a group of words that follow a # symbol. Hashtags are used on many social media networks including Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Facebook. Think of them as metadata tags that tag your post and let others know what you are talking about without reading your post.
Types of Hashtags
Using multiple types of hashtags is ideal. Depending on the platform will depend on how many you will want to use — typically speaking the more generic or popular the hashtag, the more competition. If there is too much competition, then you won’t get seen. However, on the flip side, if you are using such specific hashtags that no one is searching for them, you won’t get seen either.
Popular hashtags tend to be those with over 7 million posts. Similarly, I’ve found those with less than 200K uses are either specific to you (like your hashtag) or aren’t getting used enough to get you any traffic. The sweet spot is somewhere in the middle of these two. That is middle ground is where you would want the majority of your hashtags to be.
For Instagram make sure you are using all the hashtags (30) that they will let you add to your posts. Pinterest doesn’t limit you, but don’t fill up your description so much that all your viewers see is a gigantic list of hashtags. No one wants to read those. For Twitter try to stick with 5 or less for the same reason.
Ok so you know you need to include hashtags but how do you go about it? I do most of my hashtag analysis on Instagram. Now if you know me, you know Instagram is probably my least favorite social media platform. I like to use Instagram for my review because not only can you see how often a hashtag was used, they give you a list of related tags. For example, the #coffeequotes has been used 305K times on Instagram and #coffeeislife, and #coffeecoffeecoffee are related hashtags you could use.
The other site I like to use is RiteTag because their website is easy to use. Type the hashtag into the top search bar and press enter. You then get a list of popular related tags and how often it’s used and reshared on Twitter. Using RiteTag is especially useful if you are trying to help build your business on Twitter.
Other Hashtag Considerations
Some other things to keep in mind when developing your hashtag strategy is brand specific hashtags. These are good if your customers will be looking for them. However, if you are in direct sales and you use a hashtag that only consultants understand you may be funneling the wrong people towards you.
Seasonal Hashtags and Trending Topics
Seasonal hashtags and trending topics can be great if they are used appropriately. It’s great if you can take advantage of these. However, don’t use holiday hashtags or trending topics unless your post makes sense to those hashtags. For example, if you are using the hashtag #halloweencrafts but your posts aren’t about crafts I am going to be sad when I find it.
Day of the Week
These are especially popular on Twitter and are things like #motivationalmonday or #tiptuesday. Similar to the Seasonal and trending topic, don’t use them if they don’t make sense to your post. If you don’t have a tip for me on Tuesday and you use that hashtag, I am going to be very disappointed. However, if they do pertain to your topic, make sure you use them!