— December 11, 2017
We use hashtags all the time, especially on Twitter and Instagram. You may have even used them someplace else, such as Google+, Pinterest, or Facebook.
But do you know how to use hashtags properly, for better-targeted marketing campaigns?
When used strategically, hashtags can provide you with a ton of benefits. They can be used to get your content in front of a bigger audience, raise awareness about your brand, target a very specific group of people, boost your SEO, and use hot trends and topics to your advantage, among other things.
To get more out of them, use the following 7 hashtag tips for better marketing campaigns.
1. Boost organic reach of your posts
Ever since Instagram implemented a new algorithm, it’s made it a lot harder for users to expand the organic reach of their posts. If you add to this the growing number of users on Instagram, it’s almost impossible to cut through the noise.
The best weapon in your arsenal, aside from influencer marketing, are hashtags. Basically, they help Instagram categorize your content, and get it in front of its intended audience.
Keep in mind that overusing Instagram hashtags can lead to a shadow ban, which is a practice the plaform has yet to admit. In essence, your posts won’t show up in searches, even though they have the right hashtag. Here is how you can avoid it and boost the organic reach of your posts:
- Use precise hashtags. “#NBAFinals” is much better than just “#finals”
- Use relevant hashtags. Your tags should connect you to your target audience, not just someone who is willing to trade likes and follows.
- Observe what everyone else is doing. Check out which hashtags your competition, as well as your followers are using, and borrow the ones which appear to be most effective.
2. Create branded hashtags
This is probably the most important thing you can do for your campaign. Branded hashtags, like their name indicates, contain the name of your brand. But they might also contain your company’s slogan, name of a specific product, or one of your campaigns.
There are two key benefits of using hashtags. The first one is the possibility of monitoring the performance of your campaign, simply by focusing on just your branded hashtags.
The second one is user-generated content. Every time a user puts one of your branded hashtags inside one of their posts, they are increasing your presence on social media.
3. Join trending topics
Trending topics can benefit your marketing efforts to a significant extent, since they engage an insane number of readers. The right hashtags for a trending topic can get your product, service, brand, or content in front of a massive audience. They even be seen by people which aren’t necessarily a part of the audience you are trying to target, resulting in better brand awareness.
You can use hashtags to join trending topics in one of two ways. You can simply wait until a topic related to your niche becomes popular, then use the right tags. However, while this will get you in front of the right audience, sometimes your niche will not be the source of many trends.
You can also use hashtags which aren’t closely related to your industry. One way to do this would be to use them during the holidays, because it will be easier for your business to latch on to holiday trends and topics, regardless of your niche.
If you really cannot find a connection between your industry and a trending topic, you can tailor your content so that it fits the topic. But again, this has to be something that is at least remotely related to your niche.
4. Join a conversation on social media
This one is pretty similar to joining a trend. You can join a conversation that is taking place on social media by using the right hashtags. For instance, you can use hashtags featuring your local football team or the playoffs, voice support for a good cause, or simply jump on the bandwagon when it comes to formal or informal national holidays.
But, as we have explained in the case of trending topics, your industry needs to be connected to the conversation in a relevant way.
5. Promote contests and giveaways
Contests and giveaway boost user engagement like nothing else. People like to compete, but even more than that, they love discounts and free stuff. When it comes to giveaways, it’s better to do several smaller ones than one massive giveaway, because it will help you build a momentum on social media.
Contests, on the other hand, result in a ton of user-generated content with your hashtags in it, which means better awareness about your brand.
For instance, Lay’s created a new chip flavor by asking their customers first. With the help of the hashtag #DoUsAFlavor, this led to their “Do Us A Flavor” contest. As a result, their contest spread like wildfire, due to all the user-generated content using the aforementioned hashtag.
You can also create similar tags to promote your own offers, giveaways, and competitions, and drive more new customers your way while spreading awareness about your company.
6. Raise awareness about a particular topic
Hashtags which spread awareness about an important topic not only have the ability to go viral, but they also result in a lot of user-generated content. At the same time, you, as well as the community, will be spreading awareness about your own company. Even more important, you will actually do some good, and your company will be viewed as socially responsible.
A great example of this is the #PubLooShocker, launched back in 2013 by the Department of Transport in the UK in order to raise awareness about the dangers of drunk driving. As pub visitors went to wash their hands, the mirror in front of them (which was actually a screen) showed a dummy head smashing through the glass in front of them. It was a brutal, yet impactful way of raising awareness about an important topic, and as a result, millions of people have reacted to the hashtag. This campaign would have been even more effective in 2017.
7. Build a community around a hashtag
Hashtags can help you build your brand, which is just one short step from building a community. If you’re successful in coining the right hashtag for a particular campaign, your followers will not only be able to communicate via chat or messages, but also connect with each other by using your hashtag.
These communities can help you connect to some amazing people, both in your niche, which can help your business, as well as outside of it. They might share the same values, goals, and missions as yourself, and that is something that is priceless. Ultimately, all of you together can use this community and create a movement that is able to do some good.
Just make sure that the hashtag you choose is original and not already taken by some other brand, group, or community.
As you can see, hashtags can help you boost your business in several different ways. All you have to do is invest a little time and effort, and you’ll be able to reach your target audience easier than ever, and grow your company in the process.