Using hashtags in your social media content is a great way to connect your message to an online conversation.
However, not all hashtags are created equal.
So, how do you know what are the best ever hashtags for your business?
This article explores the what, why and how of hashtags, and how you can use them to grow your social media reach.
What are hashtags?
Before we jump into the deep end, let’s run through the basics – what are hashtags? 🤔
Hashtags are a way to connect social media content to a specific topic, event, theme, or conversation. While hashtags started their life on Twitter, they now have spread to a whole range of social media platforms.
These days, people use hashtags to search for information that’s relevant for them, for example #BuyLocal or #Paddington4064. In fact, research shows that consumers are using hashtags to help make purchasing decisions.
By using relevant hashtags in your content, you will ensure that your brand will be found in these searches and increase your potential for new sales.
How to use hashtags
Let’s move on to how to use hashtags.
Each platform has different rules and norms around the use of hashtags. Make sure that you are familiar with these for the platforms you are using for your business. [read my Best Hashtag Guide here – coming soon!]
Once you know what you can and can’t do with hashtags, it’s time to use them to boost your content.
We recommend using a mix of branded hashtags and topical hashtags.
Branded hashtags are core hashtags for your business that you use every time you post. These should relate to your business specifically, your industry and your offering.
For example, for Crisp Communications we may use #CrispCommunications #StayCrispy #Marketing #Outsourcing.
Using these consistently means that all your content will be linked together and easily found in future.
Topical hashtags are hashtags that relate to your content specifically. For example, they could be about the topic you are discussing, a holiday or celebration, a description of an image. For example, if we were posting about an event we hosted, we could use #CrispyConference2023 #Christmas #Sunset
We explore how to find the best hashtags below.
Make your content user friendly! For accessibility, always capitalise a new word in the hashtag as this helps those with screen readers be able to understand the tag more easily. For example, instead of #thisisthebesthashtag, use #ThisIsTheBestHashtag
How to find the best hashtags
To find the best hashtags for your business, industry, content and your audience, you’ll have to do a little research.
Here is how you can research and find hashtags for your content.
We recommend using a mix of hashtags from searching current content, trending hashtags and related hashtags.
Here’s how to do it:
1 - Search current content
Do a search for the types of accounts your ideal audience follows and take a note of what hashtags are used there. There will be niche specific hashtags that you should use to increase the visibility of your posts.
Why not check out what your competitors are using?
Or, research what the best of the best are doing internationally?
2 - Find related hashtags
Start off with one hashtag about your content, for example “Brisbane” and then use that to find related hashtags.
Generally you can do this by searching for your hashtag in the social media platform itself. Then, in the results section, you will be able to see similar hashtags using that same word.
This is a great way to find relevant hashtags that are more niche or specific to your content, rather than the big trend-based hashtags.
Another way to find hashtags is to use a hashtag aggregator tool.
These tools pull in content all across the web and make suggestions for the best performing hashtags. Our favourite free tool is Best Hashtags (not a paid promo – we just love freebie tools!)
However, be wary about using tools without doing a little editing first – some results may not suit your brand, and if a hashtag is too popular your content could be hidden under thousands of other results.
3 - Find what hashtags are trending
Lastly, it’s good to look at what is trending on each platform and generally online. There are a few ways to find this out.
Firstly, check out the Explore page on Facebook or Instagram, and the Discover page on TikTok.
On these pages, the social media platforms will be showing you the best performing content. Spend some time reviewing this and seeing what content you start to see time and time again – this is what is currently trending.
What to avoid when using hashtags
Before you go wild with the hashtags, there are some things that you should avoid in order to achieve the best results.
- Do not include any spaces, symbols or punctuation – these will not work in your hashtag
- Avoid overly specific hashtags – if it is too niche, no one will be searching for it
- Avoid super popular hashtags (eg. with over 200k uses per day) – your content will drop down to the bottom of the list far too quickly
- Try not to make your hashtag too long – the longer it is, the harder it will be to remember or recall
- Make sure that your accounts are set to public – private accounts don’t show up in hashtag searches
So now that you’ve completed the crash course, it’s time to start Hashtagging! #YouGotThis