On the surface, hashtags seem like the most simple part of social media marketing, but they’re vital for helping users find new things on their social media platform of choice. So that begs the question; how do I pick the right hashtags?
First thing we should do is look at what a hashtag actually does. If you’ve been on social media, you’ve seen them around. Sometimes hashtags make up most of the actual text of a post. But why is that? It’s because hashtags can increase your reach, amplify your brand, and get your content to people who need to see it.
Hashtags are 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 posts. Think of them like search terms in Google.
Now that we know what they are, how do we pick the right hashtags?
1. Make the Hashtag Relevant
The primary reason to use hashtags is to grow your audience. Therefore, if your hashtag is not relaying information relevant to your brand, you have already lost.
Imagine you are a coffee shop and you use the hashtag #cars on an image of a latte. If someone looks up that hashtag, what is the likelihood that they will want to interact with your content? It isn’t relevant to what they are searching for, so why would they?
2. Keep it Short and Simple
Remember the simpler it is, the more effective the hashtag. Hashtags have no sort of punctuation, so while “Never Gonna Give You Up” is a great lyric, #nevergonnagiveyouup is a bit of a mess to read.
A general rule of thumb is to keep your hashtags under 10 characters. This will allow for some level of creativity but not hurt the eyes of your readers. Additionally, if we are looking at hashtags as the social media equivalent of search queries, the longer the hashtag, the more likely a spelling mistake can occur.
4. Use Hashtag Aggregators and Analytics Tools
There are plenty of free and low-cost tools to help with your hashtag research, but these will help make sure you aren’t wasting your time with the hashtags you pick. Just like with every form of marketing, your hashtag needs to have both intent and search volume.
Once you find hashtags that work for your posts and brand, track the performance of them in these tools to make sure you are not relying on a term that is not bringing the desired results. If your business sells hats and #cap used to generate great results, you might find that now it doesn’t since it is the new slang for “lie”. No cap.