Hashtags are a powerful tool in the social media space for improving your engagement and increasing the number of eyes you have on your content. Using hashtags that are relevant to your business, your content, and your location is the best way to ensure your content is meeting and exceeding your expectations. But not all hashtags are created equal, and it’s important to put in some time to develop a sound hashtag strategy. Using irrelevant, banned, or ineffective hashtags are the fastest and easiest way to hinder the performance of your content, even before it’s shared. Here are our tips for developing an effective strategy.
The first step is thinking through the keywords and key phrases that are important to your business. Utilizing the search/discover function on Instagram or Twitter, you can type in some specific keywords and see how often those hashtags have been used, and if certain hashtags you’ve identified as potentially being important are being used in the same way that you mean it and would expect it to be used. You can also review your competitors to see what hashtags they’re using for more ideas.
Using phrases or location-specific hashtags that are aligned to your target audience is a great way to build your audience. Identify a few loyal customers or “ambassadors” for your brand that represent your target audience and review the hashtags or words they use when sharing about or interacting with your brand or content.
The key is to make sure that the hashtags you’re choosing are relevant to your content and business. Using hashtags that are totally unrelated to your content is the quickest way to get dinged by the algorithm. Just because you use a popular or trending hashtag, if it’s not relevant to your business, then it’s not helping your content perform well.
If you share different types of content, or have a variety of products or categories, you want to ensure you’re tailoring your hashtags to reflect each variety. You can have a few hashtags that are specific to your business, but you’ll want to have a few that are specific to each type of content or category you share.
Doing your research ahead of time, and then reviewing your performance for certain hashtags after you’ve shared is key to developing and maintaining a hashtag strategy that works for you and not against you. There’s a number of tools out there that can show you your best performing hashtags on content you’ve shared.
At the end of the day, you want to think about the hashtags you use as an integral part of your overall content strategy. From the imagery you use to how you phrase your caption, hashtags are another piece of the puzzle that should not be overlooked. Doing your research to find keywords or phrases that are relevant to your business, resonate with your audience, and perform well is the best way to develop a long term, high-performing hashtag strategy.