Are Hashtags Still a Thing?
When social media first gained popularity, it was all about the hashtags. Nowadays, we find effective hashtags and pointless hashtags alike written in the comments section or right in the captions. Understanding what the reasoning behind the hashtag is, how to use them effectively today, and the depth of their overall impact, is vital to succeeding in your online marketing.
What is the purpose of a hashtag?
The entire point of a hashtag is to help people optimize their searches on social media platforms. Hashtags allow us to categorize or sort our (and others) posts so that when someone is planning a big trip to Ottawa and wants greek food, they can just search #ottawagreekfood and see what their options are.
What is the effectiveness of hashtags?
According to a 2019 Hubspot study, a post with a minimum of one hashtag gains 12.6% more engagement than a post without any hashtags at all. That is pretty impressive and essential when you seek to gain new followers, heighten overall engagement, and improve your overall brand strategy. That said, if you use the same 30 hashtags over and over, Instagram can ban you as a spammer, so stay creative with your #hashtag choices and follow our guidelines below:
- Hashtags that are more specific are more effective. For example, #yoga would be too broad, but #ottawayoga could help you reach your targeted local audience of yogis.
- Think, what would my potential clients be searching online? These are the hashtags you want to include in your posts!
- Consider including the hashtag #follow to encourage people to follow you online. This is a common tactic used by many influencers in the early days, but if the idea of publicly asking people to follow you grosses you out, you can just skip this one.
- Experts in the social media field recommend using anywhere between 7 and 20 hashtags. Test out different variations and see what works well for your business.
- Look at your followers! What hashtags are the using? What are influencers in your field using?
- Create a unique hashtag specifically for your brand or your campaign, and stick to it!
How to Track the Effectiveness of your Hashtags
Step 1: Create an Excel sheet and manually input what hashtags you use, and how it relates the popularity of your post.
Step 2: Try using software such as Iconosquare to do the work for you – this will hold your hashtags and provide reporting on the most effective ones.
Step 3: Go to the Instagram Search Bar and type in your preferred hashtag. Look at the dropdown option Instagram provides as related hashtags and consider testing those out as well on your platform.
Going Beyond the Hashtag:
Now that you have wrapped your head around the wonderful world of hashtags, it is time to take a critical look at everything else that is going on in your social media profiles. Take a minute and ask yourself:
- Do you have a powerful call-to-action in your caption?
- Are you posting at the most optimal time for your target audience?
- Are you regularly reviewing your competitions social media to ensure you are keeping up with whats trending online in your industry?
- Have you used Facebook or Instagram sponsored advertisements for campaigns and sales?
These are just a few of the items we have on our to-do list every single day. Whether you are running your own social media or planning on outsourcing to another company (like ours!), this is a great place to start self-reflecting on your business online. For more support, or questions about how to effectively use social media to promote your business and build your bottom line, call our team at Skyfall Blue today.