If you’re not familiar with hashtags and how they’re used, you may be wondering why you even need them in the first place.
Let’s start at the beginning…
In the simplest terms, hashtags are a way to label content. By adding hashtags to your posts (either at the end, in the comments, or within the text itself), you’re essentially categorizing that content so that anyone interested in the topic can find it through a quick search.
So, why does this matter?
According to a March 2021 survey, 93% of small businesses in the United States face challenges when it comes to optimizing their social media efforts.
- 21% aren’t getting high-quality leads
- 19% aren’t gaining as many new followers as they’d like
- 17% have trouble increasing engagement
If you’re smart about the hashtags you choose, you can create social media captions that increase post impressions, make your content visible to those outside your network, and generate high-quality leads, effectively solving the problems above.
But here’s the catch: If the hashtags you use aren’t the right hashtags, they won’t help your business. In fact, they could attract the wrong followers who won’t engage with your content or convert into leads.
Top 3 Tips for Hashtag Success
How do you create a successful hashtag strategy?
The goal is to make your content visible to your ideal audience, i.e., the people interested in your product or service.
The more relevant the hashtags, the more chances those folks will land on your page, see your post, and engage.
Here’s how to make that happen:
Step 1: Make sure your hashtags are relevant.
Online content is constantly changing to keep up with the technology, trends, and tips — and hashtags are no different. You don’t want to use hashtags that no one searches for anymore, so do a little research to make sure you’re choosing updated tags.
When you search hashtags on Instagram, for example, you can look up a phrase and find hashtags related to that content. From there, Instagram will give you a list of possible hashtags, showing the number of posts for each and how recently they’ve been used. Good hashtags are ones that have been used for recent posts (within a day or two of your post) and have been used less than 500,000 times. (When you get into the more popular “trending” tags, your post is less likely to be seen due to sheer numbers.)
Step 2: Use a mix of popular, niche, and local hashtags.
When running a small business, you want to reach a larger audience, but you also want that audience to be targeted. That’s why you should include a mix of hashtags that include some larger trending tags and some smaller hashtags that are more specific to your audience or location.
Here’s an example: Brand Social Marketing is located in Northern Virginia, and we’re a group of women entrepreneurs, so when we post, we love using tags like #virginiasmallbusiness, #loudouncountyva, #femalebusinessowner, and #dcsmallbiz, just to name a few!
Step 3: Choose the right hashtags for the platform.
Each social platform has its own hashtag etiquette, so keep that in mind when posting. On LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, for example, users typically include fewer hashtags.
Another important note: The same hashtag may not be relevant on all platforms, so we recommend curating a separate list of hashtags for each social media account where you’re active. Check out the next section for best practices for each platform!
Best Hashtag Practices for Each Social Platform
Instagram hashtags are clickable, so users can easily click them to check out search results. To make sure people see your posts, you should:
– Make the most of your hashtags. Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post and ten on Instagram Stories.
– Make your profile public. Private posts aren’t visible to those who don’t follow you, even if you use searchable hashtags.
– Keep a running hashtag list so you have it ready and waiting when it comes time to post. Be sure to double-check the metrics from time to time to make sure you’re still using relevant tags.
Hashtags on Facebook work just like on other platforms, but they’re not used as regularly.
– Because they’re less common, don’t use too many hashtags at once. A good solution? Start with a few hashtags and gradually add more once you know how your followers react to them.
– You can include hashtags on your Facebook profile, posts, and videos. Adding them to your profile can be especially helpful since potential clients can find your Facebook page through a hashtag search.
Hashtags are a great addition to LinkedIn posts, articles, and company pages, but this is a professional networking site, so your strategy should be a bit different.
– Don’t use the same hashtags on LinkedIn that you use for Instagram and Facebook. Look up hashtags in the LinkedIn search bar to ensure your tags are relevant and keep a separate list for this platform.
– There are no limits to the number of hashtags you can use on LinkedIn but remember that using too many can clutter up your posts or profile, making it look less professional.
– LinkedIn encourages users to add hashtags to articles but also cautions that once the article is published, you can’t edit or delete hashtags from it, so be careful when adding.
With these parameters in mind, build a small business hashtag strategy that works for you and stick to it!
Remember to re-evaluate your hashtags regularly and look at your analytics to make sure you’re using hashtags that will help you reach your goals.
When you work with the Brand Social Marketing team, we analyze your social media pages and craft customized hashtag lists to boost followers and engagement to help achieve your specific business goals.
To learn more about how we can help or for general hashtag advice, feel free to reach out at any time!