No doubt you know that hashtags are essential if you hope to grow your following on social media. But you shouldn’t just use any and every hashtag that comes to mind. Why not? Because you don’t just want any and every person who’s willing to follow you. No, you want to build an engaged community on social media, a group of people who are truly interested in what you have to offer.
Therefore, you must choose the hashtags you use strategically to gain those right people as followers. Not sure how to go about choosing? Consider the best hashtags for gaining followers—and the worst—as well as some important hashtag best practices.
Hashtags You Should be Using
Let’s break this category down into three types of tags you should absolutely include in your social media posts if you want more followers.
As previously mentioned, you want followers who are interested in what you do an offer. Primarily using terms not specific to your industry would result in gaining very few followers. That being the case, you must use hashtags in your posts that your target audience would be browsing specifically.
The more specific you are, the more interested the people you attract and the higher the chances they’ll become followers. Additionally, using more precise tags will cut down on the number of competitors vying for the follows of the same people you’re targeting. As a result, your accounts will be easier to find and thus, easier to follow.
Event-related hashtags could involve things taking place in your industry such as annual conventions, seminars, and workshops.
They could also be well-known events in your local area, country or the world that are on the minds of the masses at a given time. These are often best suited for your more lighthearted, casual posts. For example, did you snap a pic of your team watching the World Cup during lunch? Post it…and don’t forget to include #worldcup! While this might not gain you a lot of followers since it’s such a general and popular term, it can boost awareness of your business, which will support your efforts to gain followers.
Have you created a hashtag specifically for your business? If not, you should. By using it often in your posts, you essentially create a collection of your best content. When a potential follower finds you via another highly targeted tag, they’ll be more likely to follow after seeing your top posts.
You may also consider creating a branded tag for each of your marketing campaigns. In some cases, this is a better option because it often sounds less promotional than using something more specific to your business such as your company name. In turn, campaign hashtags are often used by followers, which then captures the attention of their connections. If they have the same interests, they too may start following you.
Incorporating the Occasional Popular Hashtag
As with event-related hashtags that aren’t specific to your industry, popular hashtags should not make up the bulk of your strategy. They attract a more general audience and, therefore, result in fewer follows.
However, they do have their rightful place in your social media marketing success. They do increase your exposure and can generate engagement, possibly endearing new followers to you.
What kinds of hashtags have this impact? Among others:
#picoftheday and #bestoftheday
#summer (or any of the seasons)
#throwbackthursday (#tbt) and #waybackwednesday (#wbw)
Incorporating tags such as these sporadically in your social media posts can be beneficial.
Hashtags to Avoid At All Costs
Your goal, again, is to gain engaged followers with the potential to become customers. There are some commonly used hashtags that can get you lots of followers….but not the kind you want or need. It’s vital that you know what they are so you can avoid them and grow a following that’s actually worth having.
Some of these, which we’ll call the hashtags of desperation, are:
You should never, ever use these (or their equally-terrible counterparts for likes, shares, and comments).
Just. Don’t. Do. It.
Yes, you might get a few followers this way but you’ll be scraping the bottom of the barrel as far as quality goes. And there’s really no need to do that! As discussed, there are plenty of other and better hashtags to get followers on social media.
Hashtag Best Practices to Remember
As you step up your hashtag game, it’ll do you good to keep these things in mind.
1. Relevancy to what you do almost always trumps the popularity of a tag. Be as specific as you can!
2. Don’t include the maximum number of hashtags just because you can. Test your posts to find the sweet spot, the perfect number for you. In a similar vein, keep an eye out for the correlation between your most popular posts and the hashtags you use. Don’t keep using those that don’t work as well just because you can.
3. Follow your best hashtags (and especially your own, if you have a branded one). By keeping an eye on the tags you use, you can see what kind of content is popular and who’s posting using those tags. You can then reach out and engage with them directly, which may earn you some followers.
4. Keep an eye on your competitors and industry influencers. If you’re not sure what tags would be worth using, just take a look at what others are using successfully in your industry, That will give you a good starting point from which to mold your own strategy.
If you keep in mind the do’s and don’ts above and stick to these best practices, you’ll see an increase in followers in no time!
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