Hashtags have given us a universal way to communicate in real time about a singular topic online. Originally popularized by Twitter, the introduction of hashtags as clickable, searchable, and sharable objects on Facebook and Instagram has given business owners new opportunities to engage their customer base on their social media pages. Good hashtags are as critical to your social media strategy as good keywords are to the search engine optimization on your website.
What do hashtags do? Hashtags help to increase your exposure within your specified target market, and for this reason, using the right hashtag in a photo caption, Facebook post, or tweet can be even more effective than paid or promoted social media ads. When people are looking to learn more about an upcoming event, a recent news story, a deal or promotion, or a topic that’s interesting to them, they can search for a hashtag that will lead them in the right direction. If your page, post, or picture comes up in their search, you have a new opportunity to engage with them and convert them to a follower or paying customer.
There are several ways to search for hashtags on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
The first step to finding the right hashtag is to check out what’s trending.
When you log in to your Twitter account, you’ll notice the Top 10 Trending topics, tailored just for you. These trending hashtags give you a snapshot look at some topics related to your field of interest that are being talked about most. It even lists the number of tweets that have used that hashtag today. Twitter gathers data from the profiles you follow, your location, and the content you post to determine which hashtag trends you will find most relevant.
Facebook has a similar trends section. While Facebook gives users a list of the top ten trending hashtags worldwide, it also gives users an option to filter trends by category. Hashtags are an important part of marketing your business on Facebook.
By tapping the search icon in Instagram, the top trending caption tags appear. From here, it is easy to search for hashtags you might like to use in your own posts to increase engagement. Check out this post to learn more about essential Instagram tips for business.
Scouring social sites looking for relevant trending hashtags can be time consuming. As a small business owner who wears all the hats, you probably don’t have the spare hours every day to spend on this type of fluctuating trend search. Luckily, there are several programs that track and analyze trend data so you can search the most popular hashtag trends on your own time.
These are some of the best web tools today that solve the problem of how to find good hashtags for your social posts.
Right Tag: A tool that works for Twitter, it provides all the information you need to determine how often a hashtag is being tweeted or re-tweeted. You can even save and create a collection of effective hashtags to use in future posts. Search industry hashtags, like #FitnessGuru or #BikramYoga, or local hashtags like #ArizonaFoodie and #BostonAccountants to view the performance statistics on these hashtags and others like them.
Trendsmap: Want to target a particular demographic through your social media channels? Trends Map lets you see what the top searched hashtag is by city, country, and region. To better engage your audience, try posting relevant content that matches what they’re already searching for.
Twitonomy: Are your competitors doing better than you’d like? This tool tracks the success and growth of any Twitter page, and identifies the published content that gets the most traffic.
Hashtagify.me: This tool lets you search a complete database of hashtags, find and use hashtags from influential figures in your industry, and even delivers daily, personalized suggestions for hashtags that will bring you the most engagement.
Having a catchy custom hashtag can be a helpful branding tool. Many companies create official hashtags for events, campaigns, or products they want to promote. Using a unique brand hashtag can increase your brand authority and help distinguish your business in a sea of companies who are vying for the same audience.
Have a good idea for a custom hashtag? You’ll want to make sure it hasn’t already been used to promote another brand. Using an existing hashtag (even one that hasn’t been used in a long time) can direct traffic away from you in a search. You can search for hashtags using the trend tools above, or by entering a hashtag into the search bar on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Sometimes, even with the trend analysis tools and a dedicated focus on your hashtag marketing strategy, what ends up working can be pleasantly unexpected. After you’ve done your research on which hashtags related to your industry perform well, try a couple different versions to see which one sticks. Many of the tools above will track your social media growth for you, so you can really see which of your tested hashtags are working best. Once you’ve concluded which custom hashtag and trending hashtags you want to use in your social posts, be sure to let your followers know to use the hashtag in their posts. This will help spread awareness and engagement among the friends and followers of your friends and followers.
Don’t forget that the quality of your content is the most important thing in every social media campaign. Hashtag marketing for small businesses can be very effective if you use relevant hashtags and high quality content to match. Be sure to spend more time developing your own engaging content and finding the hashtags that will set you apart than chasing the trends of today.